Guest post by Cindy Howard
Dan Cin Art Studio
So, you’ve just figured out how to make leaves and flowers shiny, how to make fur on you cats playing in the field, and how to highlight eyes in your images. You are thinking your at the end of your learning process, but than you see those other images…you know the ones…the ones that make you feel like your work is not finished. It’s the backgrounds! I am still learning different techniques with backgrounds and having the right supplies sure does help. There are so many options out there for coloring backgrounds, I thought I would give you a few ideas as to things I’ve used on some of mine.
One of the biggest and first things I ever used to do backgrounds was with plain old eye shadow! I figured, why not? I don’t wear it any more, and it’s just sitting there. It works great! You can either use the applicator that comes with it or a q tip. Both work extremely well. Just make sure if your using eye shadow to color with that is all it is for, you don’t want to put bacteria you’ve picked up that close to your eyes.
Another great product for backgrounds is soft chalk pastels. They come in several different sized packages and are not real pricey. The ones I have came with 36 different colors and work great. Each one is a stick about an inch long, but for backgrounds you don’t use much. Take an artist knife or even your fingernail and scrape some of the stick onto where you want to put it and than use a q tip or your fingers to apply it. These colors blend nicely for doing sunsets or sunrises.
Pan Pastels are another great item for doing backgrounds. They are soft creamy lightfast and low dust when using. They are highly pigmented and you can buy them singly or in a set. You can find starter sets on Amazon but you will find once you try them you will have to have more colors. You can also use these with a damp brush or sponge to give a watercolor effect.
Some are also using background stencils to do their backgrounds with. I personally haven’t tried these yet but hope to soon. You can purchase these online at various craft sites such as Martha Stewart or you can find them on Amazon.
A lot of people use markers, or gel pens even to do their backgrounds with but I prefer using the pan pastels or the chalk pastels the most. Their are a few important things to remember:
- Do NOT use oil pastels for coloring books. They are completely different and will make a smeary mess. You want the soft chalk pastels.
- Do NOT blow the pastel dust off of your work, instead gently tap it into the trash can, because you can accidentally breathe the dust in which will cause issues especially for asthmatics. You can use a can of chalk pastel fixative or even hair spray will work, just a light dusting of spray to prevent your pastels from fading or rubbing off on other pages.
I hope this will help you some in your quest to achieve the backgrounds you are hoping for. You can also find hundreds of tutorial videos on YouTube for coloring backgrounds. Please leave a comment below and let us know how things go or if you have other techniques you’ve tried for doing backgrounds.