noblehappenstance


quality posts: 0 Private Messages noblehappenstance

Hey woot,

This question may be ill placed, and may also be difficult to answer, but I just wanted to garner any general design strategies anyone has on background designs for shirts. what I mean exactly is how do you take that main image you've worked up and create a background that will give it some depth and context on the shirt. I really admire the way many artists do very few simple moves to create a contextual background in their designs that dont take away from the main image but still seem to add so much. For example I think of spiritgreen right off, but I know there are many more. The problem I have is usually any notion of background I think of generally comes as an afterthought, and I feel as though I should consider this element earlier in the design phase. So again, any help anyone could provide with advice to their specific process or examples or even a general discussion would be appreciated.

Thanks,
NH


Rake This![/url]

Spiritgreen


quality posts: 209 Private Messages Spiritgreen

Hey, I wasn't expecting to see my name when I clicked this thread. Thanks, NH. :^)

It sounds like you have exactly the right idea about what you want a background to do, it's just a question of thinking what's best to add. I always sketch a color, rough version of a design before I start drawing anything carefully. Usually -very- rough, just detailed enough to plan the layout, pick my six colors, and figure out the foreground and background elements. That helps a lot.

Think of something that naturally belongs with your main design and then stylize it so it's less important, less bold, but helps the overall composition. Avoid any straight edges or awkward cut offs. Avoid making your background more detailed than it needs to be. A little bit of shadow or shine, or a different texture can make your main design pop, so always try out a few ideas.

I've learned a lot by looking at other designers. One of the reasons PatrickSpens and RamyB print so often is they're great at adding quite minimal backgrounds that elevate their designs, and make them feel wearable and interesting. Walmazan, SeedUVPain and bassanimation are all very good at that too, often with more complex background elements. Lucky1988 does some amazing things with his framing.

There are many designers here that have helped me figure out what works. I've certainly had my fair share of backgrounds that didn't. ^_^

bassanimation


quality posts: 98 Private Messages bassanimation
Spiritgreen wrote:Hey, I wasn't expecting so see my name when I clicked this thread. Thanks, NH. :^)

It sounds like you have exactly the right idea about what you want a background to do, it's just a question of thinking what's best to add. I always sketch a color, rough version of a design before I start drawing anything carefully. Usually -very- rough, just detailed enough to plan the layout, pick my six colors, and figure out the foreground and background elements. That helps a lot.

Think of something that naturally belongs with your main design and then stylize it so it's less important, less bold, but helps the overall composition. Avoid any straight edges or awkward cut offs. Avoid making your background more detailed than it needs to be. A little bit of shadow or shine, or a different texture can make your main design pop, so always try out a few ideas.

I've learned a lot by looking at other designers. One of the reasons PatrickSpens and RamyB print so often is they're great at adding quite minimal backgrounds that elevate their designs, and make them feel wearable and interesting. Walmazan, SeedUVPain and bassanimation are all very good at that too, often with more complex background elements. Lucky1988 does some amazing things with his framing.

There are many designers here that have helped me figure out what works. I've certainly had my fair share of backgrounds that didn't. ^_^



Awww thanks SG! I am flattered you mention me, because backgrounds are my Achilles Heel in art. Ever since I was a kid, I have automatically avoided drawing them, hence I now struggle with them on a daily basis. I have to draw them for work a lot, and I find myself wanting cry...

Spirit really summed up some great advice here. It just takes a little practice to learn how to put things together with backgrounds. I still wrastle with it quite a bit, but I do enjoy doing backgrounds now.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
bassanimation wrote:Awww thanks SG! I am flattered you mention me, because backgrounds are my Achilles Heel in art. Ever since I was a kid, I have automatically avoided drawing them, hence I now struggle with them on a daily basis. I have to draw them for work a lot, and I find myself wanting cry...

Spirit really summed up some great advice here. It just takes a little practice to learn how to put things together with backgrounds. I still wrastle with it quite a bit, but I do enjoy doing backgrounds now.



not so useful for those of us who have a difficult time learning stuff. "just look at stuff by these artists" ... "just a little practice" ... i am going to die of old age before i get the hang of this!

sittle


quality posts: 0 Private Messages sittle
no1 wrote:not so useful for those of us who have a difficult time learning stuff. "just look at stuff by these artists" ... "just a little practice" ... i am going to die of old age before i get the hang of this!



... art takes time...

A lot of good design and art is the result of a lot of practice and learning from mistakes.

Backgrounds shouldn't detract from the main thrust of the design, but they shouldn't be just a lazy afterthought either... Spiritgreen sums it up well:

"Think of something that naturally belongs with your main design and then stylize it so it's less important, less bold, but helps the overall composition. Avoid any straight edges or awkward cut offs. Avoid making your background more detailed than it needs to be. A little bit of shadow or shine, or a different texture can make your main design pop, so always try out a few ideas."

Look at the designs of your favourite artist for inspiration and ideas on how they handle their backgrounds... composition, perspective and execution are all key.

Also, look to some fantastic "seasoned" artists like Charles Schulz (early Peanuts is best), Seth and Bill Watterson for other great examples of thoughtful background executions.

There is no quick shortcut, application or computer program that makes drawing or design easy, it still has to come from your own brain... draw often, challenge yourself and learn from those who you admire.

no1


quality posts: 7 Private Messages no1
sittle wrote:There is no quick shortcut, application or computer program that makes drawing or design easy, it still has to come from your own brain



brane? d'oh! i'm screwed.

bassanimation


quality posts: 98 Private Messages bassanimation
sittle wrote:... art takes time...

A lot of good design and art is the result of a lot of practice and learning from mistakes.

Backgrounds shouldn't detract from the main thrust of the design, but they shouldn't be just a lazy afterthought either... Spiritgreen sums it up well:

"Think of something that naturally belongs with your main design and then stylize it so it's less important, less bold, but helps the overall composition. Avoid any straight edges or awkward cut offs. Avoid making your background more detailed than it needs to be. A little bit of shadow or shine, or a different texture can make your main design pop, so always try out a few ideas."

Look at the designs of your favourite artist for inspiration and ideas on how they handle their backgrounds... composition, perspective and execution are all key.

Also, look to some fantastic "seasoned" artists like Charles Schulz (early Peanuts is best), Seth and Bill Watterson for other great examples of thoughtful background executions.

There is no quick shortcut, application or computer program that makes drawing or design easy, it still has to come from your own brain... draw often, challenge yourself and learn from those who you admire.



Quality Post.

If there is anyone on this planet who has a hard time learning things, dear God it is me. It really is a matter of observing, grinding, and practicing. This is how art improves. Wishing it wont work...I should know, I have tried that technique for years! :P

So alas, until we live in the Matrix, we have to hoof it and use the old tried and true ways of improving.

Also, there's these magical links of amazingness, if you want to study background art:

One of the Best Places for Background Study Ever

More Awesome BG stuff!

noblehappenstance


quality posts: 0 Private Messages noblehappenstance

Thanks for your posts all, seems I have identified a universal struggle, so I am glad we can discuss different ways of doing things, really does seem like a good background can go a long way, let us all find the secret!


Rake This![/url]

noblehappenstance


quality posts: 0 Private Messages noblehappenstance
bassanimation wrote:Quality Post.

If there is anyone on this planet who has a hard time learning things, dear God it is me. It really is a matter of observing, grinding, and practicing. This is how art improves. Wishing it wont work...I should know, I have tried that technique for years! :P

So alas, until we live in the Matrix, we have to hoof it and use the old tried and true ways of improving.

Also, there's these magical links of amazingness, if you want to study background art:

One of the Best Places for Background Study Ever

More Awesome BG stuff!



Thanks for the links too bass, cool stuff!


Rake This![/url]

Spiritgreen


quality posts: 209 Private Messages Spiritgreen

Awesome links. John K has posted some great insight into BG design and layout too. Some of the most appropriate parts may be to do with Golden Books, as their art is designed to be completely contained on the page, like a shirt.

bassanimation


quality posts: 98 Private Messages bassanimation
Spiritgreen wrote:Awesome links. John K has posted some great insight into BG design and layout too. Some of the most appropriate parts may be to do with Golden Books, as their art is designed to be completely contained on the page, like a shirt.



Oh awesome, I looove John K. Thanks for this link, Spirit! This is a priceless resource for studying background art. Just browsing around I am starry eyed *_*. I had no idea this was here. I will stalk intently now.

orabbit


quality posts: 29 Private Messages orabbit

I just found this thread. I wanted to start this same topic, because backgrounds have been a pain for me too. I just want to add that John K's blog really helped me a lot. He has so much great educational stuff archived there. Thanks for the links guys. Hopefully this will help other people too.