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Drawing One-Point Perspective for Comic Backgrounds

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Sept. 1, 2014

I may not be the authority on drawing backgrounds in comics. However, I did spend about two years taking several classes centered around perspective drawing so I do know a little bit more than the average bear. The idea that I have is this, as comic makers, we enjoy telling a story and creating worlds for our characters to live. A plain, flat one-dimensional background can get the point across that a character is in a room. A background drawn in correct one-point perspective adds a different dimension to a panel. It makes the background look more filled out.

I am going to attempt to give a general lesson on one-point perspective for quick tips. There are several books written on the topic as well as video tutorials that go way more in depth.

Think About A Grid

Some professionals are against the “grid method” because it places a limitation to the space that one-point perspective can be drawn. Once the basic ideas are learned, it is possible to draw one-point perspective without the grid. But here are some basic components: First, there needs to be a Horizon Line. This is just a horizontal line drawn across the page. The most comfortable perspective for the viewer is at about eye level, so a horizon line set at 5'-0“ to 5'-6” is ideal. The second necessary component is a Vanishing Point. This point is found along the Horizon Line and it is where all the perspective lines will lead to on the page. If done correctly, the image will mimic the way a space looks from a fixed point.

Start Building The 3D Landscape

I usually like to start by using the ground as a reference for the base of objects and then I start building up. I draw the shape on the floor, draw perspective lines leading to the vanishing point and then I draw several vertical lines from the ground to build actual page heights. There is a lot of room for error at this stage and the initial lines can come out very rough so I would recommend using a very light pencil lead or a color that can be easily edited out in Photoshop later. Once all the lines have been mapped out, the final outline needs to be drawn in a very dark ink.

Use Perspective to Color the Background

The important tip about coloring in the background is that the line strokes need to be in perspective as well. This is why the vanishing point can never be erased because it will be needed as a reference later on.

Staying mindful of the simple rules of one-point perspective will help with drawing comic backgrounds. It is sometimes easier to set characters in front of a plain white background especially for close up shots, but a correctly executed perspective brings the character to the front of the page and allows for a more dynamic comic background.


After five years, MadMindInk's completely wonderful, very beloved webcomic Denizens Attention has reached the final page of its story today. This is a comic that I have been following for years and the coloring and art style is AMAZING. It will behoove you to check out this masterful story.


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Judgement is due by Saturday, September 6th (5 Days Left!). Please let Niccea know well in advance if it can not be finished.

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