How To Draw Backgrounds For Comics

How To Draw Backgrounds For Comics: Tips and Tricks

For comic book artists, drawing backgrounds can be both a challenge and a source of creative fulfillment. It is the key to creating a sense of space and setting the scene for the story. Without a well-drawn background, the characters are left floating in space, without a sense of place, depth or atmosphere. In this article, we will go over some tips and tricks on how to draw backgrounds for comics.

The Basics of Drawing Backgrounds

A background is the setting or environment where the characters in a comic book story exist. It is the room, the street, the park or the planet where the character is standing or moving. A background can be detailed or simple, depending on the context of the scene.

To draw a background for comics, you need to start with a strong understanding of the basics of perspective. Perspective is the art of creating a sense of depth on a flat surface, like the page of a comic book. For comic book artists, two-point perspective is the most commonly used technique.

Two-point perspective is a technique where two vanishing points are used to create an illusion of depth. One vanishing point is located on the horizon line and the other is off the page. The lines that recede towards the vanishing points are called perspective lines. By using perspective lines, you can create the illusion of space and depth.

Another essential aspect of drawing backgrounds is composition. This refers to the arrangement of the elements in the scene. A well-composed background can make the difference between a bland and a dynamic page. The rule of thirds is a handy tool for composing your pages. It divides the page into thirds horizontally and vertically, creating four intersection points. These points are naturally attractive to the eye, and placing the key elements of the scene on them can create a balanced and visually pleasing composition.

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Creating a Sense of Space

A background is a crucial element in creating a sense of space and scale in a comic book. There are several techniques you can use to create this illusion.

One of the easiest ways to create a sense of distance is to use atmospheric perspective. This technique involves using lighter, more subdued colors and tones to depict objects that are in the background, while using stronger and more vibrant colors and tones for objects that are closer to the viewer. This technique creates the impression of depth and distance.

Another way to create a sense of scale is to use size and placement. By making the foreground objects larger and placing them at the bottom of the panel, you can create an illusion of depth and scale. Similarly, by placing smaller objects higher up in the panel, you can create the impression of distance.

Drawing Different Types of Backgrounds

There are several types of backgrounds you may encounter in a comic book. These include indoor settings, outdoor settings and different planets or dimension settings. Each type of background requires a different approach.

Drawing an indoor setting requires an understanding of perspective and light sources. Indoor spaces tend to have strong light sources, such as lamps, overhead lights, and windows. By placing your light source correctly, you can create dramatic shadows and highlights that will add depth and realism to your scene.

Drawing an outdoor setting requires an understanding of perspective, color, and texture. Outdoor spaces are rich in natural elements such as trees, water, and rocks. By using colors that are appropriate for the time of day or season, you can create an accurate portrayal of the environment. Similarly, using textured lines to depict natural elements can add depth and realism to the scene.

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Drawing different planets or dimension settings requires a strong imagination and creativity. Creating a unique environment that feels both otherworldly and believable is a challenge. The key to success is to pay attention to the details. By creating unique structures, plants, and creatures you can create a sense of otherness that is both captivating and realistic.

Drawing Backgrounds Digitally vs Traditionally

Finally, it’s worth noting that drawing backgrounds digitally and traditionally require different approaches. Digital drawing offers several advantages over traditional drawing. It allows you to work faster, make changes more easily, and use a wider range of coloring tools. Digital art software also offers features like layers, masks, and filters, which can make the process of drawing and coloring a background easier.

However, traditional drawing also has its benefits. Traditional media like pen, pencil, and brush offer a tactile feel that cannot be replicated by digital software. Traditional drawing allows you to respond to the materials in a more organic way, creating unexpected textures and lines.

Ultimately, the choice between digital and traditional drawing comes down to personal preference and the needs of the project. Many modern comic artists use a combination of both techniques, using digital software to create the initial drawing and traditional media for final touches.


Q. How do I approach drawing a complex background, like a cityscape or a forest?
A. Start by breaking down the scene into smaller parts. Draw a rough sketch of the main elements, such as buildings or trees, and then add details progressively. Use references for accuracy and realism.

Q. Should I use color or black and white for my comic book backgrounds?
A. It depends on the style of your comic. If your comic has a more realistic style, color can add depth and realism to the scene. If your comic has a more stylized or minimalist style, black and white backgrounds can be more effective.

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Q. Can I use photos as a reference for my background?
A. Yes, using photos as a reference can be helpful in creating an accurate and realistic background. However, make sure to use them as a jumping-off point, rather than copying them exactly.

Q. Can I draw backgrounds without using perspective lines?
A. You can, but it will be more difficult to create a sense of depth and realism without using perspective lines. We recommend learning and practicing the basics of perspective to improve your background drawing skills.


Drawing backgrounds for comics is a rewarding, yet challenging, task. By understanding the basics of perspective, composition, color, and texture, you can create vivid and realistic environments that enhance the overall story. Whether you choose to draw digitally or traditionally, the key to success is to practice and experiment with different techniques. With patience, attention to detail and imagination, you can create backgrounds that are both believable and captivating for your comic book story.

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