ah thank you !!! i’m so glad you feel “invited” in my backgrounds, it’s a beatifull thing to ear, it’s been not so long ago since i realised it might be something i’m good at and that my long lonely quest of finding myself in art might reach some interesting point. i’m glad you support me in that way and your words mean a lot <3
I’ll be glad to give you some advices about making backgrounds. It’s not as difficult as it looks (it’s even more easy than drawing characters in my opinion, since a background can be very random and chaotic while a human body always has some anatomy rules that are very difficult to break). I’ll give you some tips that i wish i knew sooner !
first of all, no surprises, you have to draw form real life. take a sketch book everywhere you go and draw your everyday locations (your room, house, garden, street, school, favorite coffe place, some cute things that you’re about to take an instagram picture of, draw it instead ! idk you shoes, your cupcake, your nintendo etc) it’s even better when you’re travelling^^
important thing when you draw from life : NEVER USE AN ERASER ! draw with a ball pen or inking pen. You will progress a hundred time faster if, instead of loosing time with erasing, you just start over. (i really wish i had realised it sooner XD)
second thing : save every photo you like while browsing internet. Make several folders like “pretty light”, “cool composition”, “nice colors”, “atmosphere ” etc. Like a little squirell. then explore those files when you need inspiration. There is no arm at using a lot of references while drawing backgrounds. and the more you will use references, the less you will need references in the future (because when you draw it once, it’s inside your brain forever)
third thing, try to understand the “algorythm” of the things you want to draw. I don’t know how to explain this because it’s a very personal way of seing things, but each natural thing or human made thing has a kind of repeating pattern. I realised it while looking at backgrounds in mangas (where the artists have to be really productive), they have the best tricks to make a lazy background looks very complex. I remember understanding very big city landscapes while reading naruto (the first volumes when they still are in this city with the tiles in the roofs and the cables everywhere), they almost didn’t bother with perspective, it was just different layers of houses connected together with electric cable (cables are a very good trick to add some deep in a city without caring about perspective). also, look at the way they draw leaves, it’s only a buch of diamond shapes, some areas are filled with black, i looks very complex but it isn’t, it’s just bluff ! another good manga reference is Blame! the backgrounds are so beautifull but it’s basicaly some random squares and cracks put together, and it works like that with most of human constructions. i don’t know if it will help you ?
another thing if you don’t like perspective, you can work with flat perspective, but give your painting some deep by having three levels of layers : a foreground (often blurred or kept darker), a middleground (where your main subjects stand), and a background. like here you have all you depth separated by different level of brightness. it’s simple and effective.
choosing a nice camera angle is more important than being good at perspective, it will give all the personality to your pic more than any colouring or drawing skills. Here you have to see a lot of movies and select the ones you love the most for their cinematography. corean movies, wes anderson, quentin dupieux, rian johnson and david oreilly are my favorites (along with some rarities like Bellflower or Temporada de Patos). then try to reproduce their style, but with your own colors and characters. You asked how do i approach backgrounds, and i think cinema is my main influence (a lot more than other illustrators), and cinema backgrounds always have to be easy to read and tell theirs story in a few second before the next shot. simple and effective, i like it. I’m lucky to have a cinema background as I studied and work in cg animation and special effects, i’m pretty sure if i had done a classic illustrator education, i won’t care that much about cinematography !
if you really want to work on your perspective skills, here is one very good tutorial that is veery complete about perspective and composition.
about choosing your colours, this tutorial is the best to explain how to “feel” the thing (all the tutorials made by this person are awesome, and theirs wip are very helpfull too)
and to finish this one wich was a huge revelation on how to play with colours in photoshop, this tutorial was eveything i needed to start making very complex lighting very quickly and naturaly. i love it and i’ll be always gratefull to his autor omg thank you fox-orian.
one last thing. backgrounds are filled with life ! like birds, insects, cats, or some mark of past human/animal activity like grafittis, stains, trashes, flying paper, empty cans, cigarettes, broken things, all those things we don’t look at anymore because our brain just remove all the useless details to keep us from being overwhelmed by our environment. You have to train your brain to care about the details !
i hope i answered you questions without being to chaotic or chatty :) don’t throw you art through your window ! you’ll be happy in a few years to see how much you progressed ! (you can throw away your eraser though, do it right now ! and your ruller too, get rid of that, your hand is better at having a style than any ruler)