I guess that some people will think that arts with detailed backgrounds are much better than those with simple backgrounds. In fact it is true that a beautiful background can give rise to a more beautiful image that an artist is making or an art appreciator is seeing. Backgrounds play a very important role in the arts, be it a photograph, a digital art or a traditional art.

While reviewing my DeviantART message centers, particularly my 18000+ art messages (I failed to check it for 3 weeks I guess), I found a handful of images that were beautifully made and with simple backgrounds. So I thought of sharing my experiences and thoughts about this.

Working with Solid Colors

In Bloom by =stephensheehan

This is the reason why I decided to make a blog post about simple backgrounds. In my own opinion and experiences, pastel-colored backgrounds really look good with pastel-colored subjects. The color #ddd0ad (the background) really helped the subjects to pop out while denoting a weary feel which will eventually turn into hope as denoted by the tiptoed girl and the growing roses around. The background color gives the image a sense that that the whole image was made traditionally, as if it is a plain paper and the water color effects of the brushes and images were fantastically made!


Solid colors are also famous for character vector artists. Solid colors to not distract the eyes of the viewers and thus can give a timely exposure for the character or any subject matter, and the goal of the artist was highly achieved I say! Though, you need to consider working with solid colors for the character too, because if you use too much gradients for the subject and with a solid background, it can become irritating in the eyes. The above example is really a good art. It’s very clean and attractive. See the image below for another example of a great image with solid colors from backgrounds to the colors used in the subject’s composition.

Frankettes by ~theyellowcoyote

50 by *fitz-fitzpatrick

Solid colors can really work with a subject with MANY colors! The above picture is also a great example about how a solid background can make a subject more visible and to pop out more.

Working with background patterns

Aside from solid colors, patterns can also be used for your minimalistic yet beautiful artworks. The examples that I will be showing were also made beautifully.

Claire and Her Wild Hair by ~Setsuna-37

In this picture, the artist chose to use a background with white dots and a bit of flower texture with a lesser opacity and a bit of greenness to fill the whole background. The background is not really that bright, nor it’s not too pale. It just used the same color scheme with that of the subject that made this image really grand and still doesn’t distract the viewer’s eye focus for the subject.

Oh Radio by ~explosivevoice

A little tweak of colors from the picture before this can give a masculine feel in our example above. For this example, the artist chose to use black pattern dots with a yellow color to fill the spaces of the background. The brightness of the background matches well with the whole feeling that the image wants to express.

Working with Textured backgrounds

Another great way to make your simple backgrounds look more fun and pleasing to the eye is to use textures.

Mischief by *dirteaicecream


One of the artists that I adore for the fair and clean use of textures is Christian Torres. In the image above,  I think the artist used the color #b9c7c8 and added a bit of textures to match with the whole style of the image. Though please take note that textures must not take over the whole image. It can be used but you should know the rules when applying textures and one of which is to make sure that you make a clean image even if you used some grungy textures for example. The above image is really clean amidst the presence of the textures there.

slow hands by ~CharlieOvOBubbles

At first, I thought that the artist used a solid color for the background, but after looking at it closely, I realized that there are also some textures or a bit of brush strokes to make a ‘textury’ feel. That was really a creative idea I believe. The background supports the look and feel of the subject in the image. This is also a new example of a wise and clean texture look that can be used as a background.

Working with simple backgrounds on paintings

While checking Matt Khor’s channel on Vimeo, I found this very good tutorial on how to make simple backgrounds for your digital paintings.

His workflow to achieve this kind of effect is really easy and efficient, even if you don’t own a graphics tablet and even if you want to make long strokes for your brushes. The idea is also unique and simple and it’s really a plus! You should try sharing this to your friends too. His channel is really one of the bests.

Here are some of the paintings that I’ve seen with simple backgrounds, but still, beautifully made:


Allison Harvard inspired portrait by ~Cellesria

I shall fix your wing by *hachiyuki

Things to remember

Backgrounds for arts are really important, but using a simple background is just one of the many ways on how to make your arts more beautiful. Simple backgrounds don’t work with all arts too (visually appealing wise) and some just need to have intricate and complex backgrounds, but it is still one of the many options *nods* No mater what you do, just always do your best as an artist. If you think that using simple backgrounds can make your art more beautiful, then do it! But if not, try other things, add some elements and be free, but remember these things:

1. Maintain a balance between your subject and the background.

2. Know your colors and make sure that your colors meet.

3. Know the edges of your work and focus with your workflow as you meet your working space.

I also asked a question for my deviantart watchers: “Do you think that arts with detailed backgrounds are much better than those with solid/pattern/simple backgrounds (visually wise)? “

It depends heavily on the subject. If the subject is highly detailed, and the background is plain, it will stand out. If the background is detailed, and the subject is plain, it will again stand out, but if the subject AND the background are detailed and intricate, it will get lost in the background. ~portuguesemutt

Minimalism is attractive if used properly and using too much detail in the wrong places can distract from the subject/idea. /opinion (I really think less can do more in most cases)  ~Ipodzanyman

How about you? What are your thoughts about the use of Simple backgrounds?