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How to Colour Backgrounds

Backgrounds to colouring pages can be something that many people find daunting or just do not know how to start. There are lots of different ways that they can be coloured though. I thought it might be helpful to show you some of the techniques that I have used to give you some ideas.

In this picture, I drew a brick design in the background. I used a ruler to start with to get the horizontal lines straight although varied the height of the bricks. Then I drew in the vertical lines at different distances to make bricks of different sizes. I then went over those lines by hand as I coloured the bricks to make them look more wobbly and natural.

In this picture, I kept the background very simple. I drew around a circular object to make a moon in the sky and they did a simple wobbly line to make a hill. It can be tricky colouring such a big block of the sky though but I did use pencils for this and you can see the uneven marks in places.

In this picture, I used soft pastels to make the background. They give a smoother finish than pencils and are much quicker to use. I used different colours in different places such as brown nearer the branch to make it more interesting. I did the pastel first, applied a workable fixative and then did the pencil work afterwards. I applied the fixative before the pencil so I did not get greasy fingerprints on the pastel which spoils it and stopped me from getting pastel all over my hands as I coloured.

For this picture, I used watercolour pencils for the background. I used various green and brown shades and actually activated them with blending solution rather than water. This was because I had my blending solution in a pen and felt more in control than with a paintbrush. I did this on a single-sided colouring page so there was no risk of ruining a picture on the back.

On these pages, I used different coloured pencils for the backgrounds. I used darker shades towards the outside of the circle and lighter towards the middle, fading out to white. This takes time and practice to get a smooth transition and often blending pencils/solution can help.

In this picture, I wanted a porthole effect so drew a circle around the image very roughly in pencil and then another outside of it. I coloured it brown and tried to make a wood effect using a brown pencil with lines to show different planks and to try to show wood grain. Inside I faded the yellow background out towards the middle to give a glowing effect.

In this picture, I traced some images from other parts of the book to fill in the background. The trees on either side, some of the butterflies and the flower heads on the right-hand page were all traced. This made it much easier for me to fill in all of that blank space.

This galaxy background was fun to do. I picked four colours; black, dark purple, dark pink and light pink and just did blocks of them and then gently overlapped them and blended. I then added the stars etc on top with paint pens.

If you want to see more backgrounds then I have a video where I show a selection of the backgrounds that I have done in Johanna Basford books which you can view below

I also have a playlist of background tutorials which you can find by clicking here and below are some of my background videos that you can take a look at without having to visit YouTube.