Which thumbnail?

  • SVS OG

    Hi guys! I'm not really new, but I haven't posted much before. I am struggling with the fact that I can copy anything, but I really need to go back and develop my ability to work out the thumbnail/development stage. I don't finish pieces because I'm really not happy enough with them do go on!

    Anyway, here is a concept that I really like: Here in Italy there is a lovely tradition of creating entire villages around nativity scenes. If you've even seen the Metropolitan Museum's Angel Tree, that's the idea, minus the tree. They are really enchanting and bring out the kid in anyone!

    I know it's not Christmas anymore, but my thought was to create one for social media for next year. It’s set in a shop window. At first I thought about doing it from the POV of Mary, but decided that was too "clever" and didn't allow one to see enough of the scene. I didn't want to do it from the POV of the child because that took away the child's reaction and the scale. Inside the shop, I have to be careful of the angle or you can't see enough figures. And I decided on a night scene so that the spotlight is really on the figures, but you also see light reflected in the child's face.

    So here are my thumbnails, with some basic shading to show the spotlight. The things hanging from the ceiling are supposed to be angels, and in the one from the angels' POV (bottom right), I put something in the foreground to indicate them as well (that's a trumpet bell scribbled in on the left side, but I may put in something more obvious). In fact, I think that's the one I like the best, though it will be quite a challenge to draw all those figures from overhead!

    It's a sort of modified "Draw 50 Things." I'm hoping I actually get in close to 50, but want the figures to be big enough to see well, so that has to come first.

    Input? Ideas? Critiques? Thanks!

    PS: Hope this link works. If you can't see it, check back later because I'll keep trying.


  • SVS OG

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  • SVS OG

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  • If you click the little cloud icon with the arrow pointing up then it should just upload your image straight to the forum page 🙂

  • SVS OG

    Whew! Thank you so much, Gary! And found the edit button too :-). So now I put the photo in. And the one below is where I started developing the "angel's eye view" in a Facebook cover size.

    0_1516188890481_Presepe as Facebook cover photo.jpg

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @lauraa i think you are on the right track. With the POV of the angel will you be able to get enough detail in the figures? I wonder with that if you will see most of the back of the figures vs the front. I think if the focal point should be on the figures then you would want to see more of the front of them. Out of your thumbnails I liked the bottom right. With that one you would still see the kid and it would be a front view of the figures.

    Looking forward to seeing the progress on this.

  • I would second Chip on the issue of giving the figures enough detail with that viewpoint. I would recommend that you have take a bunch of photos of someone in a similar setup to get a feel of what would work best. Your viewpoint will be very dependent on what the story is that you are going to tell. Is the person setting up the scene very important? If not, it might be good to have an over the shoulder shot, indicating that there is someone making the scene, but putting all the energy of the scene into the figures themselves.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks for your input, Chip and Gary. Actually, I just put the second person in the scene to balance out the sizes and values of objects in the scene. So no, that store employee is not currently important, though I did think that if I chose an option with a second figure, I might draw that person glancing at the child.

    Yesterday I fiddled around with placing the figures in the "angel's eye" scene, and in the end, many of them are side (townspeople) or even frontal views (some shepherds and wise men). But the Holy Family themselves have their backs to the viewer and in fact, I currently don't like how they are just out there by themselves. Last night I started developing the bottom right view a bit as well, and though the figures on the back wall (mostly townspeople) would face the front, they would be farther away from the viewer. Many of the ones on the ground would still face the side.

    So yeah, I guess I really need to decide what I am after. I really want to create a bit of a Baroque stage set with the possibility of developing some humorous aspects among the figures, but I also want the child's interest. Any adult reaction would be just a way to draw more attention to the child's. I just find something appealingly "Busy World of Richard Scarry" about nativity scenes, and to me it reflects something about town life in general.

    I walked by the store that was my original inspiration for this scene, but they have now put away their figures! I only have photos that I took from outside the store. Meanwhile, I still have until February to photograph nativity scenes in churches, but no child model. If I can think through the space, though, I can figure out the child part.

    I've also elongated the whole thing, which seems to allow for more figures, but also favors the angel's eye view. I'll think about these things today and post a drawing update when I've had time to develop them both further.

    Thanks again. I hope I've understood what you were trying to say.

  • @lauraa
    What if you had the child holding some of the figures? That way, they could be facing upward if the child is holding them tilted back in their hands. I guess it would make them upside down in the picture (if you are looking down facing the child), but you could see if that works.

    You could also try a side view looking down at the child (to avoid the upside down view).

  • I love your thumbs, I originally liked the upper left and lower right for clarity. Would there be any benefit to having two children, allowing you an angle that gives a more direct front-view of the nativity but instead of seeing the back of a single child looking at it, have two excited children interacting (looking at each other but pointing at the scene, etc)? Just a thought.

  • SVS OG

    I have a friend who comes from an Italian family who always built elaborate "villages" under her Christmas tree with the nativity figure at the center. I thought it was just something she did -- I didn't know it came from her heritage. If you are having difficulty with the shop perspective, you could have the child looking at the scene under his/her tree. Whatever you do, it's a neat idea.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks, guys! I just started the Turbocharging Your Creativity class and it's so relevant to this! So I think I'm going to proceed through the class and then "go back to the drawing board," so to speak, on this image.

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