The importance of backgrounds, part III

I used to be quite nervous drawing landscapes and backgrounds. They never felt like they were crucial elements in the matrix of my plot. 

But when I started using them as turning points in plots, as having their own minds (like in Disney movies, for instance), the plot gets even more interesting because I was adding elaborate secondary characters and they needn't complicated pasts and deep secrets (mind you, the Clockwork Room has lots of secrets to reveal!). 

Treat backgrounds as an essential part of your plot. 

The more inspiration you can get from social media platforms, the better. You can start by copying - we all start there! - and add your own unique, personal flavour to them.

Important point: it is going to take a while. I saw that happening in a lot of mangakas in Europe and in the US - the focus is mainly on the characters, not what surrounds them. Be warned immediately: your fans won't be impressed by the lack of backgrounds and landscapes.

The Clockwork Room is one of my favourite elements in my manga METIS. I was heavily inspired by the Room of Requirements found in the Harry Potter novels by JK Rowling

I added my own flavour by using pieces from Art Nouveau and Steampunk technical details for the clocks. Steampunk is an essential component of my manga as the plot is taking place at the end of the XIXth century. 

Collect as much information as possible when you want to draw buildings. Architecture is a very complex art, but you can pick up elements from different areas and cities to create your own buildings. 

If you want to collate information about buildings, online research is not the most ideal tool. You should try and go to the closest big library and have a look at these bulky books full of stunning pictures of buildings. Pick up the area that suits your manga best and practise as much as you can.

© CF Smith, manga & illustrations - All Rights Reserved