Backgrounds aren't specifically required for your MAX submission, but I just wanted to point out how great the picture looks when you include one. LogicalBreak's picture of Skye Zhen for Tahkyn2 has a TERRIFIC background, and its carefully arranged perspective adds punch to the entire picture.
And now: COLOR THEORY!
Those of you who are signed up for the November round of MAX may have noticed that the theme suggested you try using Color Theory and choosing an artistic color scheme. I'm sure many of us learned about Color Theory in art classes, but it's easy forget or ignore these lessons. I'll offer a recap for you right now.
Probably surprising to NOBODY, this is the Color Wheel. We'll be using it to create some color schemes you can use in your art. Most of you know how the color wheel works. If we start with Red, Yellow, and Blue (the primary colors) and blend between them, we get secondary and tertiary colors. These colors relate to each other in interesting ways, and we'll show you some color schemes you can use when you understand that:
The monochrome color scheme chooses mainly one color and features many different shades of it. The picture above, of course, features Purple.
In an analogous color scheme, you choose colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. In the pictures above, you'll see two different examples. On the left is Blue, Teal, and Green, and on the right is Red, Orange, and Yellow.
The Triadic color scheme features three colors that are equidistant from each other on the color wheel. These might be Red, Yellow, and Blue, or as in the example above, Green, Purple, and Orange.
In the complementary color scheme, you choose two colors that are opposite each other on the wheel. In the artwork above, those two colors are Blue and Orange. Notice that they're not necessary to most saturated colors, and that's what makes this and many other color schemes work. Want another example? Scroll back to the top of this page and look at LogicalBreak's art. It features mostly Purple and Yellow colors. Once again, nicely done, LogicalBreak!
There are a few more color schemes you can use, mainly Split Complementary and Tetratic, but they're a bit more complex and I'll leave it to you to research them if you want to take it further. You'll see them featured in the video I'm about to link to.
A very helpful crash course
The following is a video about color theory for artists that should clarify everything and fill in many cracks I've left behind. It was created by a person who primarily works in 3D rendering software, but what he teaches is useful to all artists. I recommend you give it a watch, since it will explain the effects of each color scheme and provide you with many more examples: