How To Give Background To Portrait Drawing

Categories: Pencil PerceptionsPublished On: October 29, 20220 Comments20.7 min read
Komal Thoria

Once we learn how to draw Portrait drawings, we start thinking about creating a background. As a beginner at this, we might fail and make certain mistakes while giving background to Portrait Drawing. It might get annoying at times as it acts as a supportive element to the main drawing.

In such cases, we shall consider some smart and technically attractive ways of creating backgrounds. For many years we have been working on numerous portraits, and I have realized that having a keen understanding of a portrait background is extremely important. And here, we will be discussing How we can create effective backgrounds just by understanding some technical things and creating some effects.

I will be also sharing some of my background styles which I developed all these years for my pencil drawings. Let’s look at some aspects to look upon and various methods of creating backgrounds.

Consider the Lighting 

Consider the light direction on the face to make the background. There are a few ways you can add the background. Check the image below.

Pay Attention to Tones

A dark background adjacent to a dark tonal value will not allow the portrait to stand out. We need to create contrast. There are two ways of doing a background

Avoid Loud Backgrounds

Avoid loud backgrounds

When you draw a portrait, you want the viewer to first look at the portrait, through the eyes, which is the “focal point”. Too much contrast and loud backgrounds distract the viewer’s attention. Why? Because the contrast is equal or even more than the subject itself. This confused the viewer. 

Practise Abstract Designs

Some patterns or lines which look appealing and creative can be used as a background. Backgrounds that have soft tones and edges and support the subject around it or behind make it attractive. Check this image

Create Shadow Effects

When trying to add a background where the subject looks more realistic and pops out, a background of the shadow of the portrait can be done. It makes the artwork look more photorealistic.

Merge the Subject with the Background

When the background must act as a supportive element to the portrait without taking much attention, A dark background or merging the subject with the background with soft edges can help you make it look more natural as well as appealing. Learn many of these from our drawing tutorials!

Simple Gradients

If the portrait looks empty, you can add a transitional background of a gradient. Gradient itself means the transition of tones from dark to light. You can first scribble some thumbnails to decide which transition in which direction goes well with the portrait. And in this way, the work looks complete without much effort.

Conceptualize Montages

If you are looking to show memories of the person as a background or something very creative of your own as an execution, then you have the creative freedom for it. You can make the background equal to the contrast in the portrait to show the connection or do the storytelling. Whatever you do, do consider the composition of such conceptualized ideas. Jump in to experiment with something unique and draw thumbnails, It will help you excel better! Here is one of my early pencil drawings. We have explained more of this in detail in our online drawing classes.

Portrait Drawing

Is it okay to not give a Background at all?

Can I keep the background plane as it is? Is it way too necessary to fill every corner of the paper to make it look complete?

Well, in my opinion, Do NOT force a background! We often add a mid-tone background to just fill up, but ask yourself if it is necessary. Is it making a difference? Whatever your opinion is, it differs from person to person. 

Eventually, all we need to make sure is that the focal point remains as it is without any distraction.

Check out Our portrait drawing and online art classes. In this course, we have explained everything in detail. After joining our online art classes definitely, you will become an expert in portrait drawing.

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