You are viewing eggstorm

On Backgrounds

« previous entry | next entry »
Sep. 10th, 2008 | 12:40 pm
music: Och Jag Grät Mig Till Sömns Efter Alla Dar - Säkert!

I've been discussing backgrounds with other cartoonists, and I thought I would share my observations with people that maybe care for that sort of thing.

For many it can be a pain to have to think of what to put in all that dang negative space. I totally used to over do backgrounds, unnecessarily. Your backgrounds should have a purpose. Generally they are used to set the atmosphere. You see these a lot in the comic's establishing panels. How to use panels are important, but also what you use for backgrounds is important.

When it comes to backgrounds, for me it helps to really know where my characters are. I know their flats and neighbourhoods in my mind to small details. For me the environment they live in is as much a character as the characters themselves.

We have Kukträsk, the cold, sparse town in the polar circle. The very absence of a detailed background can say a lot about where they are.


Does your character live in a student flat? Perhaps she really values a nice looking home but doesn't have a high budget and absolutely refuses Ikea.


Or perhaps she really, REALLY loves the complete Ikea package. (She totally gets bowls of chips and cider out for Eurovision Song Contest, all dancing on her sofa. Cries herself to sleep after.)


Or do they live in a warm, old part of a large European city.




All that said, I sometimes totally skimp out on backgrounds due to time restraints. I generally use photo references but sometimes I just go from memory.

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {8}

cadwell

(no subject)

from: cadwell
date: Sep. 10th, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)
Link

Thanks for your thoughts here. That last panel is beautiful and in the one above it I like how you suggest a lot with relatively few lines. "Draw Less, Show More" as they say.

Reply | Thread

rosscott

(no subject)

from: rosscott
date: Sep. 10th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
Link

how do you balance the amount of detail you show without overpowering the characters in the scene?

Reply | Thread

Rene Engström

(no subject)

from: eggstorm
date: Sep. 10th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
Link

I'm really not sure, because I do most of what I do instinctively.

I used to pay way too much attention to all the details. I have scaled it down considerably. This helps, I think. I also use a limited palette. I have very simple character designs, as well, so against somewhat detailed backgrounds, they still stand out.

Does this help?

Reply | Parent | Thread

rosscott

(no subject)

from: rosscott
date: Sep. 10th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
Link

totally!

Reply | Parent | Thread

Carly Monardo

(no subject)

from: whirringblender
date: Sep. 10th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Link

Great post, Rene!!

Reply | Thread

Anna-Lena

(no subject)

from: anniz
date: Sep. 10th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
Link

I know that I one time told Jeff how much I like your backgrounds in your cartoon.
It really is well done.

Reply | Thread

Nemu ish Nemu!

(no subject)

from: kyubikitsy
date: Sep. 10th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Link

I must learn to simplify my backgrounds. T_T;; I'm still struggling to find the point of detail that gets my points across but don't overwhelm the foregrounds. Most of the time, I wonder what to put in the panels that don't have any backgrounds at all.. and choosing colors for mood is probably the most difficult of all. ^_^;

Reply | Thread

Rene Engström

(no subject)

from: eggstorm
date: Sep. 11th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Link

Your backgrounds are beautiful! Says me!

Reply | Parent | Thread