Why a Background?

One of the ways to set your adult coloring pictures apart is to add a background to the picture. Not all pictures will lend themselves to a background but quite a number do. Backgrounds can add depth, interest and make the colors in the picture really pop. But backgrounds can be scary. Especially if like me, you are someone who colors the main picture first. Once you’ve finished the picture, you can be concerned that adding a background might “ruin” the picture or change the look of the picture which has taken you so much time and effort to complete.

What do you need to add a background?

Backgrounds can be done using a range of different media. You can use colored pencils, soft pastels, chalk pastels, school chalk, eye shadow, markers. Some of these media can be combined with blending tools eg colored pencils and colorless blender pencils or markers, Vaseline, baby oil, etc. using a variety of Blending Techniques. Others can be applied by themselves eg colored pencils, markers, eye shadow, pastel chalks, etc. Eye shadow and pastel chalks usually need to be applied with a cotton wool ball, sponge or cotton pad. Refer to Video Tutorials and Demonstrations (below) to see some helpful video tutorials on how to color backgrounds.

What are the Benefits of doing a background?

Backgrounds can add a number of things to your pictures:

  • They can make the colors of the picture really stand out or “pop”
  • They can add interest to the picture
  • They can add depth and context to a picture eg a dark background may indicate the picture is a night time picture.
  • They can provide another opportunity for you to use your creativity and add something of your own to a picture

Learning How to Add a Background

There are lots of videos on You Tube demonstrating the various techniques for adding backgrounds. I found the Video Tutorials and Demonstrations (below) most helpful. These videos clearly show and explain what each of the techniques is and how each can be applied. They give both before and after demonstrations. These are the ones that helped me to gain courage to add backgrounds to some of my adult coloring pictures.

After following the tips in these videos my background coloring skills improved.

Anjelica's Butterfly Mandala


In this picture, the first background I attempted, I used just colored pencil.




Streaks showing on image


In this extract you can clearly see the streaks of the colored pencil in the background.




Brown Owl lit up in the Night Forest with soft pastel background


After watching the videos and practicing some of the tips I learned some other techniques and how to apply them. Some of these techniques helped me to achieve a much smoother background in my pictures.

In this picture of an Owl I have used soft pastels to create a background. This background gives the impression of the owl lit up in a night time forest.



Seahorse with Blue Eyeshadow Background


In this next picture I have used eye shadow as a background to the seahorse to give the impression of it floating in water.






Links to:

Video Tutorials and Demonstrations

Video LinkPresenterVideo LengthOverview
Coloring Backgrounds : First StepsCherTheFire38:01This is a great video to gain a basic understanding of a number of methods for backgrounds. Cher Kaufman gives an overview and examples of a range of different methods and media for doing backgrounds. Cher includes methods using some everyday items you may already have at home.
Coloring Backgrounds : Pencil BasicsCherTheFire13:49Cher Kaufman demonstrates five different ways to create backgrounds using colored pencils.
Coloring Backgrounds : Pastels BasicsCherTheFire11:31Cher Kaufman demonstrates some different ways to create backgrounds using pastels.
Coloring Backgrounds : Using Eye ShadowCherTheFire8:09Cher Kaufman takes you through a range of tips for using eyeshadow for backgrounds.
Coloring Backgrounds : Gel Pen BasicsCherTheFire4:28In this quick video Cher Kaufman demonstrates two different ways to create backgrounds using gel pens.
Coloring Backgrounds : Chalk BasicsCherTheFire4:35In this quick video Cher Kaufman demonstrates three different ways to create backgrounds using blackboard (sidewalk) chalk.
Colouring Book Tutorial: Applying pastel OVER pencilsPeta Hewitt12:07Peta Hewett demonstrates how to apply soft pastels for a background on a picture that has already been colored in with colored pencils.
Colouring Tutorial: How to Colour a BlackBackgroundPeta Hewitt11:55Peter Hewett shows how to color a black background in a coloring book using a black colored pencil and a Faber Castell Black Artist Pitt Pen.
Colouring Tutorial:Easy Timber Background for Lost OceanPeta Hewitt32:21In this video tutorial Peta Hewett demonstrates all the steps involved in adding a timber look background to a picture.
Colouring Book Tutorial. Colour Pastel Background Made EasyPeta Hewitt20:44In this video tutorial Peta Hewett demonstrates all the steps involved in adding a soft pastel background to a coloring book picture before coloring the picture.
Clouds with chalk pastelsJalapeño Gal11:29In this video Jalapeño Gal shows how to add a cloud effect background using an easy homemade stencil and some chalk (soft) pastels.
Blending a background with pastelsColour with Claire2:15In this short video Claire shows how to apply a background using soft pastels and an eyeshadow applicator.
Colouring in a Background, with Pastels. Crisanne's Colouring Class for Adults - Episode 4Crisanne Fox10:27Crisanne explains and demonstrates how to apply soft chalk pastels over a picture already colored with colored pencils.
Secret Garden | How I color a background | Jardim SecretoOlly LoveArt3:51This short video demonstrates one of the ways to create a soft background using colored pencils and a cotton pad.