Top 10 Tips to Drawing Backgrounds Like a Pro

green and white leafed plantsWant tips to drawing backgrounds of your artwork like a pro? Saying yes? No worries, just read this post till the end as this post says it all!

There are a lot of things that artists can draw. For example, artists can draw a house, a landscape, mountains, fruits, a cityscape, galaxy, or a portrait. Do you know one thing that all artists draw in their drawings or sketches? The answer is simple: Drawing Backgrounds!

Yes, it is right! Drawing the backgrounds of a painting is one of the biggest yet important parts of an artwork that almost every artist must do.

Today I will show you how you can draw a background like a pro. One thing that you must keep in mind is that you should make the background of your drawing simple but make it colorful as well. Because if you draw simple backgrounds, the image that you have drawn will become the focus of your drawing. It does not mean that you should pay less attention to the backgrounds.

Why drawing backgrounds is important

Remember, backgrounds are very important in drawings. They are an essential part of the compositions. And they have a major role to make or break your piece of art. Even if you, as an artist, have left the space empty or white in the background, it means that you are still creating the background – a white background. So, whatever the background of a drawing is, it has a huge impact on the final artwork – whether the impact is good or bad!

Once you have learned to draw objects, people, or characters, it is time to begin drawing backgrounds. It is important to use those colors in the background that match the main image. If you have created all positive shapes in an image, then the negative shapes will represent the background.

This post highlights everything that you need to know about drawing backgrounds. Here, you will come to know some basic and advanced tips by which you can draw backgrounds of your drawings and paintings like a pro. We will show you how you can draw some basic shapes as well as lines. By reading this post till the end, you will also get to know adding patterns in the backgrounds to add a visual appeal to your drawing.

Are you ready to discover some tips for backgrounds? Let’s take a start now!

Use light colors in the background so it can complement with the main elements

The first and foremost tip that may help you in drawing the background of your artwork is using light colors. When plain backgrounds are not used, obviously some colors are added in the background to make them look appealing. Such colors should be added in the background that can complement the main object of the drawing rather than competing with it.

Let’s say you are drawing a landscape where there are brown rocks in the front and at the back, there are large mountains. The upper portion of the painting is filled with sky. As the rocks in the front are the focal points and are dark brown in shade, for coloring the background (including mountains and sky), you need to add colors mixed with white.

For example, for the sky, you can add light blue color and for mountains, you can add the same brown shade that was used for the foreground rocks but this time, the color is mixed with white to add a light effect to the background.

What you have learned: Never add such colors in the background that competes with the focal point for the attention of the viewer!

Avoid long straight or curved lines when drawing backgrounds

The next important tip is to avoid long straight and curved lines. Now you must be thinking lines are everywhere in the drawings then how you can avoid them. Let me tell you. You can definitely use long straight and curved lines but there should be some object that breaks into them. In other words, I can say that they should be disconnected. Why? Because if there are long lines in the background, the whole artwork may become boring or inartistic.

Consider this by taking an example of arranging a room. To set a room, you will put various pieces of furniture, wall hangings, or carpets just to fill up the blank space and long lines. The same is the case with drawing the backgrounds.

If there is monotony in the background using long straight and curved lines, you should break it otherwise the viewer will not be attracted to the whole artwork. Therefore, to make your backgrounds interesting, you should avoid using long lines.

What you have learned: For making the background of your paintings appealing, interesting and not disturbing to the eye, never draw long lines, either straight or curved. The lines must be broken by some objects.

Never use a plain paper background for complex compositions

Want another tip for drawing backgrounds? Never use a plain paper background for complex compositions. A plain paper background means that you have not drawn a background because the color of the paper serves as a background.

This type of background is easy because you just need to select the right color of paper that you may use as a background. BUT a plain paper background does not work well for complex compositions.

If the subject is complex, a plain paper background will make the subject dull and boring instead of making it interesting to look at.

That being said, a plain paper background can work well if you are working on a still life painting or drawing a simple portrait.

What you have learned: For simple portraits and still life paintings, using a plain paper background is good but for complex art compositions, never use a plain background.

Parallel lines in the background should not conflict with one another

For designing the background of a drawing, another technique is about parallel lines. To make a background add a positive vibe to the subject, you can draw parallel lines in the background but they should not conflict with one another.

Let’s take an example of a background of a room. In such a drawing, you need to show the interior of the room such as a sofa, flower vase, clock, wall hanging, or a table. If you group the furniture or other interior items of the room in such a way that the lines are becoming parallel, what will it show? Can we call it a good composition? Absolutely not!

The parallel lines are conflicting with one another. They should be broken by other objects. For example, if you have drawn a curtain then its parallel line should not match with that of the sofa (placed just beside the curtain).

What you have learned: If the background of your artwork contains many parallel lines, make sure that they are not conflicting with each other. Always try to make them with some objects!

Draw a background that unifies the whole artwork

It is another technique that an artist must follow if he/she is drawing backgrounds. You should draw such a background that unifies the whole image. This tip for drawing the backgrounds is typically related to the colors. It means that the colors of the background should be such that they can complement the colors of the main object.

For example, consider a drawing in which there is a bird sitting on the branch of a tree. Now the question arises here is what will be the background? Will it be a plain background or should an artist use light colors? It totally depends on the colors that are used in the bird and the branch of a tree.

If the bird has yellow and black color and the flowers on a tree branch have pink colors, then you can use yellow and pink colors in the background. But instead of making them too bright, try to make colors diffused so that the viewer can focus on the actual subject of the image and that is a bird.

What you have learned: An artist can use different colors in the background. But such colors should be used that can unify the whole piece of art.

If you have used a plain background but want to soften its hardness at the same time, you can use a tinted background. Basically, a tinted background is also a plain background but you can add some shades of colors or pencils in the selected areas, maybe in the corner of the painting or at the edges of the main subject.

The tinted background helps a lot in making the subject to focus the attention of the viewer. But one thing that should be kept in mind is that such colors should be used for a tinted background that matches the colors used in the subject.

What you have learned: If you do not want to use a plain background but make the background simple as well, you can use a tinted background by shading in some areas of the background.

Use elements in the background to create depth

The next tip for drawing backgrounds is to use some elements in the background that can create depth. Imagine you have created a landscape drawing. The whole scene is beautiful, the light is perfect but there is something that is making your artwork look flat or compressed. It is due to the background!

Use some elements in the background that makes an artwork interesting. For example, if there are mountains in a landscape painting, you can add a lake. This will definitely give depth to your photos.

What you have learned: Always try to use some elements in the background that can create depth and can make the artwork appealing to the eyes.

Draw a background that can add to the quality of the scene | a tonal background

Always draw an appealing background to add to the quality of the whole scene. For example, in the case of a landscape painting, you can draw different trees in the background that may enhance the whole picture. You can also create an illusion of a blurry landscape. It can also enhance your painting.

What you have learned: An artist must always use such a background that can to the quality of the scene.

Add shadows and highlights

If you are drawing backgrounds of anime films, you should use colorful backgrounds. Plus, it is better to add shadows and highlights in the backgrounds using different techniques so that an illusion of depth can be created.

What you have learned: Adding shadows and highlights in the background is a good technique for creating an illusion of depth.

Use different shades of colors in the background

Most artists prefer to use the white paper for their drawings but they want a colored background at the same time. In such a case, using different shades of colors in the background is an ideal option. It is a great technique by which you can draw backgrounds like a pro.

What you have learned: Instead of adding different colors, you can add different shades of the same color in the background.


So, these are the top ten tips for drawing backgrounds. It is also important to make the backgrounds as simple as you can so that the viewer can focus on the main object that you have drawn in your painting.

The colors used in the image must also correspond with that of the background. So, if you want to draw backgrounds like a pro, follow all the above-mentioned tips, have fun and happy drawing.

Do you know any other technique for drawing the backgrounds in artworks? Tell us in the comments section!

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