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Journal Entry: Fri Mar 30, 2007, 4:25 PM
Currently working on:
:bulletblue: A new commission for a non-DA client
:bulletgreen: Development of webcomic idea "WCL"
:bulletred: Sketch for DarkmasterN for winning my second journal quiz
:bulletred: Sketch for Larissa-Rasputin for winning my third and final journal quiz (on hold for the time being)
:bulletgreen: Art trade with Ginjirou
:bulletgreen: Pin up featuring my super hero "All-Star" and psychoheat's namesake character

OPEN for commission work.

I know how to improve my anatomy. I'd like to believe I'm pretty good at it. I can digi-ink and I can color too. If I may be so bold, I've got figures on lock. I mean, sure, I can always get better, and I will.

But the point of this post does one improve drawing other things? You all know the number one deficiency in my's backgrounds. I bought a book on perspective and I read it a couple of times, but it hasn't helped. My backgrounds, the little that I do, look like sh*t. If I draw a pinup with a character or two leaping around or something, it looks fine. But the moment I try to put a background behind any of my images, they always turn out looking just plain I've gone from a 29 year old artist to a 9 year old one.

I've been thinking about it. The best way to get better at something is to do it until it gets better. But I don't know...maybe I'm just a moron. Maybe I don't know how to learn how to  draw backgrounds. It's not like I'm a drawing newbie, but when I try to put a background in anything, it feels like I am.

I'm tempted to abandon drawing comics for good and just do a bunch of pinups forever. My head hurts just thinking about how I'm going to turn WCL into a reality with the crappy background drawing skills I have now, and have had for as long as I can remember.

These are all the images in my gallery, aside from comic pages (if they even matter) that feature my attempts at hand-drawn backgrounds.

:thumb48890774: Nia vs. Armstrong by Dualmask Red Blade vs. Nia by Dualmask :thumb47934010: :thumb47324754: 1st in a Series by Dualmask Rowr by Dualmask :thumb23517303:

Do any of the backgrounds in these images *not* look like crap?

What to do, what to do...


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  • Reading: Perspective for Comic Book Artists
  • Watching: The Prestige
  • Playing: Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
  • Drinking: Hi-C
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TheUnregarded Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
maby take a look at the comic artist whos background you like and try asimliating their style into your own
Rowrsie Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2007
Just a suggestion maybe it's helpful, maybe it's not. I don't even know if it would help! But maybe just draw some landscapes without any kind of figures in it? You know, like mountains and valleys and cityscapes and such, just for grins. Like concept sketches for video game locations and scuh perhaps?

You'll get it, i know it's frustrating, but keep doing it and you will get better and better at it :)

Also, see if you can finda book on composition. Could help somewhat, so you can make a background that works with the figure, not drawing away the eye or detracting from what you want the viewer to concentrate on.
Tan-Jin Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok. Relax. All is well! :D

I will give you an example of what is going on there:

Some hours ago I tried to draw the back of a naked woman. (I am not kidding you, I will get to the point in a moment :) )
I am usually quite good in doing anatomy, but I am severely lacking in self-confidence (sometimes) and discipline (always). So after I had finished the outlines I looked at it and thought, oh my, I had lost it and could never get anywhere. The sketch looked really bad.

I could have stopped, then and there. Total surrender.

But that lasted only a moment.
Then I grabbed my pencil again and started fleshing out the parts between the lines. Her muscles and curves. I gave it substance.
While I did that I started noticing where some lines had gone wrong, because with substance the whole picture became clearer to me.

When I was finished I had a beautiful naked girl on that sheet of paper.

I believe that is one part of your problem.
You are not that bad at doing backgrounds. Seriously not!
But the pictures are still incomplete.
In some cases you also failed at doing perspective correctly, but, trust me, only few people would notice that, and fewer still would care.
What is mostly missing from many of the pictures is substance.

It is a rather small step to get there. Don't worry.

But before I get into that, a question: Did you only read the books on perspective, or did you also try to draw all of the example pictures that were given?
Ok, one might say I am insane to demand drawing all of the pictures. But I am not talking about precision. The idea is to make small quick sketches of the references, to get a feel of the procedure. No rulers. No perfection. Just the simplest reproduction.

Only reading the theory cannot help. You know, as Morpheus said:"Knowing the path is not the same as going it" (ok, it's just a rough quote).

Giving substance starts by applying some shading to everything...yes, also the characters.

I promise, even if, in the beginning, it feels like I am asking too much, I can tell this will be very easy for you.

You can do it!
That is really obvious! :)
kllrjatt Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2007
the sw 12 regal shaft has the best background imho out of all the listed works. i took a close look , i am no pro , i suck drawing stick figures that is how bad i am . but ur background is simple . look closer , you have stright lines for all your works , except for two of them. ur not gonna wish and ur back grounds are gonna get better.
the first step is the hardest , take a step brake the stright line rule .
Juggertha Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2007
My advice, use photos.

Your backgrounds are not bad at all.. but they are sometimes lacking realism. They seem a little too plain.

Using a photo reference will ad little details that your mind wouldn't have dreamed up.
psychoheat Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2007  Professional General Artist
well i'm yet to try this, but someone suggested to me that since I have already gone through quite a few perspective books, and it hasn't helped that much, I should get some advanced architecture books with much more detailed explanations on elements.

the other one is to repreoduce the scene you want in clay and then look at it from the angle you desire (not very useful for an entire city shot
Dualmask Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Clay huh...well unless I'm looking to provide a new snack for my little boy Jayden, that's not going to happen...but architecture books don't sound like such a bad idea. I know there has to be something out there that helps artists build the other comic drawing skills.
belafantasy Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2007  Professional General Artist
Geez, Dual, if you are bad at your backgrounds...i'll lose all hope on mine!! Are you kidding?? O_o I do suck, and i never could improve...>.<
The only way i found is to copy...always copy and you'll improve...of course, don't use the ones you copy on your works, use them just to learn! Get pics of a landscape, a city and you'll see how you can get better...^^ but now i fee horrible...i reaaaly suck..^^;
Dualmask Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Don't be silly, my dear, your backgrounds always rock and you know it. I've been envious of your talent since my ~fallenangel77 days. :D If what you're doing is copying, you're doing a mighty fine job of making it your own.

Maybe that's what I need to start doing... :plotting:
Larissa-Rasputin Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2007
I won't lie, they're not the best I've seen, but they're not total crap. The only thing you can do is what you already said...practice. You've got a natural talent, you just need to develop that part of it more. :)
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Submitted on
March 30, 2007