View Full Version : Backgrounds - Questions

10-28-2006, 01:31 PM

I'm wondering about some things with regard to backgrounds:

1. I've found that BGs slow me down more than anything else... they can cost me approx. 10 hours at times. Does anyone have any advice on how to speed up BG drawing? How can you help yourself not over-detail, things like that. Right now I'm drawing something in a city, and the BGs are really taking too long.

2. When you have a panel with a character's head large in it (closeup to extreme closeup view), how do you maintain consistiency in the placement of BG elements? I am using a tile system, and counting distances (# of tiles), etc. but this is slow and I end up guessing a lot anyway. Just wondering...

BTW - ANY good tips about how to draw BGs fast and well would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!

James Smith

j giar
10-28-2006, 01:44 PM
James...I feel your pain my brother! I'm currently scartching and clawing my way through some right now! One thing I just recently found out about backgrounds. The more detailed they are the more the reader will stop and look around. You as the artist need to keep that in mind when it comes to pacing. The more detail the slower the pace. You need to decide how detailed you want to get. Use a couple of panels on the page to establish location and go from there. For the record BACKGROUNDS SUCK! :laugh:

10-28-2006, 11:51 PM
HAHAHA!!! Good point!! They are a gigantic pain in the neck to me right now. :confused: I appreciate the advice. :laugh:

10-29-2006, 06:49 AM
Hi James,
Well ,now you know why some artists, when they got chance don't have hesitation to adquire a background assistant.It is a pain for them too.
I never went right with the tile system.It takes soo long to me, but I saw "monsters" doing background from that.I use it just in countless occasions.
I'll sound stupid,but the start is to grab the perspective issue for itself before to go into the pages.Thousand books about it.
If you understand the perpective concept at first is going to be very simple.Sorry for said that.
So, you do have the perspective concept clear in your mind,then you must translate it into the panel page.
At first you can do a map from the scene.To determine the characters positions there and their movements related to the others panels.A plan.
Determine your shot angles.Determine your horizon.
If characters are more important than background, draw the characters at first, from "them" determine your horizont, considering the objects from your background as blocks, a chair become a block with the proportions of that chair in scene,the same with the rest of the objects.
Same for exteriors.A taxicab is a block,that building is a block, obviously those blocks have different proportions in your scene/panel.
First the principal character,then horizont from there,then blocks.and make work those blocks in composition.
If the background is more important than characteres,do your background at first and then place your characteres from the background horizon.
Is easy to determine the perspective working with blocks.Then start drawing the object inside the block.
Start working the big shapes to the small ones, from general to particular.
Dont forget to trace lines guide to connect the objects with the horizon.
You can start doing a rough by hand and then adjusting.
When adjusting lines by ruler,do horizontals at first and then verticals.
When the shapes are working good,then add details,and then textures,and then color/decoration lines and finaly shadow.
Study the shadow issue as part of your perspective concept.Thousand books about it.
If you have problems with a particular object in your panel, work it outside, in a piece of paper with the block shape reference from the object. Then translate it back to your panel.
I don't want to give you more confusion, I stop here.Hope this could help.

10-29-2006, 07:13 AM
More. To acelerate your pacing with the whole issue,do as almost everybody does, determine the panels in your page,then draw the characteres of every panel with a slight reference for your background in blocks, when you are finish to draw all characteres in your page/s, get back over your background issue, and start drawing the backgrounds panel by panel, now just concentrated in the backgrounds.
If you do have an assistant here is the moment when he start working.
So by now, you do have the characters and background in your page, start doing shadows.
Shadows are going to lay over characters and backgrounds together.

10-29-2006, 02:30 PM
Wow --- Thanks a lot, Scribbly! This is a very interesting idea - the method of drawing all of the BGs as a last step. Is this something you do for the entire issue, or for just one page at a time? Thanks!