During my research for the level designs in my upcoming game MathSumRun, I have stumbled upon some interesting references you can use for drawing your backgrounds.
Most of the nicest stuff out there, rests neatly organized on Pinterest, which is a heaven for
digital hoarders collectors of fine imagery. The stuff you find on Pinterest is usually a few magnitudes better than the stuff you find on a Google search, or in other popular places were you might search for inspiration, like DeviantArt or Behance.
Diving in 🙂
The Art Of Aquascaping. One of my favorites references, aquascaping designs seemed to be a perfect fit for side scrolling games. You can easily use them if your game has a jungle theme, but you can also modify them to look like they are out of this world, by changing the color and texture, this is exactly what I did with one of my levels as you can see here:
Backgrounds from films, with the animation ones being the best sources. One1more2time3’s Weblog has some really nice backgrounds like this one:
Trees! Just looking at trees, you will often find really interesting shapes and landscapes. I loved this tree so much, I made a level based on it.
I have found only one Facebook group for Background paintings, which is a bit weird since backgrounds are so important. Oh well, at least it’s a very good group and there are nice posts, like this awesome Art Director of Environments from Zootopia.
Back to my new favorite web place to hang around (and collect stuff), I have found the Character Design References, which has a few background collections like this: Environment Design | Abyss, so ctr+f in your browser, write “Environment Design” and check them all out.
While looking at the history of background design, I found the amassing work of Tyrus Wong. His early paintings were used as the style for the backgrounds in Bambi (1942) . Fun fact, he makes kites since the year he got retired in 1968, he is 105 🙂
I am sure I will ad some more links in here, until then, do share your favorite sources of inspiration for your background drawings in the comments.
Happy drawing 🙂