Contest! Backgrounds with Character Challenge!

What’s the big deal about Backgrounds?

It’s not just your characters that can have personality and moods — your backgrounds do too! Are your backgrounds bringing out the best in your work, or are they missed opportunities?

They matter to everyone

This isn’t just for long-form comics either — It can be key for a comedic strip.

Notice how Watterson contrasts the moods of each imaginative panel with Calvin’s real-world. As Spaceman-Spiff, the colors are bright and the shapes are dynamic. In the classroom, dull beige and brown frames a highly structured look. This punches the comedy up as he returns to the realm of his space-faring alter ego.

The Challenge

In honor of Spaceman Spiff, let’s dedicate this first contest to…


Draw a setting that makes you think of Adventure!  Exploration, daring escapades, narrow escapes, piles of treasure, outlandish threats — what kind of place can you imagine?  Show us, and send it in!

I’ll be judging on imagination, creativity, and the person that best captures the theme. Not “what’s the prettiest, most perfect drawing.” So go wild, have fun, and try new things!! The reward goes to the risk takers. Or, should I say, THE BEST ADVENTURER!

The Prize

The creator of the winning entry will be sent a copy of one of my top recommended books for learning perspective!

Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up
by Jason Cheeseman-Meyer

The Due Date

Send your entries in to THIS ADDRESS with the subject WA CONTEST by Wednesday, August 22nd! Winners will be posted August 24th.

Need some help?

You can use the same perspective grid I did!  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BIG (~7MB) .PSD FILE! I’ve found laying out a grid really helps me with making backgrounds.

You can use the grids to make measurements in multiple planes. Here, the ground is measured by the blue. Up-and-down is laid out by the red. The green lines show how the red-and-blue lines can be used to lay out people relative to each other!

I know that using a grid can sometimes be intimidating. I recommend starting with a simple drawing, and working from there. Experiment with distant backgrounds, mid-ground, and foreground.  You can see my steps in the animation below:

There’s lots of great tutorials on backgrounds on the internet!  Such as this series here! Or this one! Push outside your comfort zone and try new things!! I can’t wait to see the results!

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  1. Mmmm… To bad I can’t use my Twitter BG that would of been a good idea…

    Maybe I will enter it and make a new bg ^_^ they always fun to do only 12 days left mmm should be good ^_^

  2. I don’t find working to a grid intimidating. I find it soothing. Like its a happy safety net and if I stay to it I’ll be okay.

    Not sure if I can enter this contest. My schedule is already pretty nuts but we’ll see!

  3. I would love to download the Perspective Grid PSD included in this article above (“CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BIG (~7MB) .PSD FILE!”), but the link does not result in a file. Could anyone provide a link to download it? I would greatly appreciate it, thanks!

  4. Can I just post the link to my background here? I’ve been trying since last night to email it, but either it says the email server isn’t working or the email address I’m trying to send it to is invalid.

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