Accountability: using Lee White’s 6-step process to create a Christmas card



  • @BichonBistro I would create an environment first then and then populate it with different arrangements of doggies from different angles. You might be thinking too hard about it. I would throw together as many crazy ideas down on paper in twenty minutes to loosen yourself up. Then go back in and thrown down horizon lines.



  • @chrisaakins said in Accountability: using Lee White’s 6-step process to create a Christmas card:

    @BichonBistro I would create an environment first then and then populate it with different arrangements of doggies from different angles. You might be thinking too hard about it. I would throw together as many crazy ideas down on paper in twenty minutes to loosen yourself up. Then go back in and thrown down horizon lines.

    Thanks Chris—after reading your suggestions, I gulped hard and tried again. Number 7 is the only one I didn’t quit as soon as I heard the voice in my head say “you have no idea how to draw backgrounds”. I spent way too much time on it, but it was the first time I tried a thumbnail without panicking over everything I haven’t figured out (like what is supporting the in/out structure where unseen work is being done and spit out for finishing touches, what’s the point of view, where is the horizon line and vanishing points, how are the work tables constructed, what is going to be on the floor, how did the supervisor get on that platform, etc. etc.). I don’t like it of course, but at least I got ONE thumbnail done without pushing the panic button or quitting.

    That was a major hurdle, thanks! Onward....S-L-O-W-vember...🐌
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  • @BichonBistro yay! Sometimes it's the little victories that we need to celebrate! I am glad I was of some encouragement to you.
    One other thing. You may be trying to put too much detail into a thumbnail. It's really just about shapes a values so you can see a general composition. After you have some good "blob placement " then you go back in and start roughing in details.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    One of the most important things to realize about thumbnails is how they FEEL when you are making them. If you think anyone has a "clear" picture of what a thumbnail is before they start drawing, you would be mistaken.

    I try to explain the thumbnailing process as feeling like you are trying to describe a dream that you can just barely remember. Like you are pulling it out of the fog. When I'm doing thumbnails I have that hazy notion of what a scene looks like, but I really don't know. The important part is just getting something down. Anything will work for the first one. I don't judge that one at all, I just use it to get me going. Things like "wow, that shot is too wide" or "ugh, that didn't work at all because of this or that" is what makes me try for the next thumbnail. Many times I'll have like 10 thumbnails of even one simple idea. I'm just moving the camera around and changing stuff up. A lot of times I'll copy a thumbnail (working digitally) and erase the border I drew and make a new size out of it so I can add something, etc. This is why I don't like working with pre-made boxes like you have here.

    Have you seem my "how to do 50 thumbnails" video? If not, I talk about some of this stuff there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jghVE4V5FfU&t=1s

    Keep going!



  • I'd also recommend you Lee's video which I've seen last week. Forget about all the details. Try using only very simple shapes for the beginning. This is only about composition. You can also use a blank sheet (paper or digital) for sketching around. Then take a sheet of paper and cut out a little frame with the same aspect ratio as the postcard and hold it over your scribbles. You can change angles, size, where the borders end etc. without drawing them and play with it.
    For the idea with the assembly lines, you could fill a bunch of thumbnails only with their rough shape. No extras. They are the main visual element of composition you've got there. How do you get these basic shapes look hamonic on your format? Once you have that, you can do another bunch of thumbnails with your assembly lines and only with, say, circles for where the bichons stand. Hope you get what I mean. That's just one idea.



  • @chrisaakins I need to make this reminder into a poster!



  • @Meta said in Accountability: using Lee White’s 6-step process to create a Christmas card:

    I'd also recommend you Lee's video which I've seen last week. Forget about all the details. Try using only very simple shapes for the beginning. This is only about composition. You can also use a blank sheet (paper or digital) for sketching around. Then take a sheet of paper and cut out a little frame with the same aspect ratio as the postcard and hold it over your scribbles. You can change angles, size, where the borders end etc. without drawing them and play with it.
    For the idea with the assembly lines, you could fill a bunch of thumbnails only with their rough shape. No extras. They are the main visual element of composition you've got there. How do you get these basic shapes look hamonic on your format? Once you have that, you can do another bunch of thumbnails with your assembly lines and only with, say, circles for where the bichons stand. Hope you get what I mean. That's just one idea.

    Excellent suggestions, thank you!



  • @Lee-White I just watched your 50 thumbnails (again!) and realized I am missing the shot list. Your process and instruction is brilliant, which is why I decided to try your method for this project I have been putting off for a long time. But I learn about as slow as I draw 🤯 The elements involved in creating backgrounds (points of view, perspective, focal point, etc.) are so intimidating that I practically freeze at the thought of making marks—it’s enlightening to hear you use words like “feel”, “dream”, “fog” and “hazy” to describe your first passes in getting something drawn!

    I remembered your comments about grids, so I have been working (in procreate) on individual canvases sized proportionally to 5x7 for each thumbnail, then copying them to a grid. I like @Meta’s suggestion to cut a frame to that proportion and move it around a drawing that isn’t initially done within those confines. Sticking to simple shapes is a big stumbling-block—believe it or not, I screen-shot your video thumbnails and tried to emulate those in thumbnails #3 & #6. I think I need to aim for somewhere between those & #7.

    I am hoping part of the difficulty implementing the goals of this stage (QUICK, rough, shape-based compositions without any detail) is a matter of breaking my years-long bad habit of doing just 2-3 thumbnails that are somewhere between step 1 and step 3, never really working out a composition until final art when it’s too late to change things. It feels like moving beyond my typical character spot illustrations will get easier if I can just push through this rough thumbnails step without giving up.

    Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement @chrisaakins , @Lee-White & @meta 👍🏻



  • @BichonBistro I really struggle with thumbnails. Something that worked better for me was cutting various shapes of coloured paper in different sizes to represent the elements I'm thinking of including in the final image and then just playing with them and arranging them in different ways until something interesting pops up. The viewfinder would also work really well with this.

    Essentially it's the same as doing thumbnails but completely detaching the process from drawing was very useful for me. You can always take photos of different arrangements if you want to compare them.



  • @neschof said in Accountability: using Lee White’s 6-step process to create a Christmas card:

    @BichonBistro I really struggle with thumbnails. Something that worked better for me was cutting various shapes of coloured paper in different sizes to represent the elements I'm thinking of including in the final image and then just playing with them and arranging them in different ways until something interesting pops up. The viewfinder would also work really well with this.

    Essentially it's the same as doing thumbnails but completely detaching the process from drawing was very useful for me. You can always take photos of different arrangements if you want to compare them.

    That is a fantastic idea that might just help me get unstuck! I am going to create some basic shapes in procreate and give this a go, thanks!



  • @neschof your idea to use shape cutouts really helped get me started on thumbnail #8 without sweating, thanks! I was still too rigid and spent too much time, but that process seemed to loosen me up for thumbnail #9. I was looking at @Joy-Heyer illustration on Instagram and she posted a rough thumbnail that inspired me to loosen up for #9 when she said her best illustrations come after 50+ thumbnails and that the first few are difficult. In the middle of it, I did tense up whenever I had the thought that the perspective will be difficult on #9 for all the foggy/hazy parts of the 2nd floor of the drawing.

    Only 41 to go 😱
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  • @BichonBistro Almost double digits! Keep going 😀

    (I’m loving #9)



  • I'm here for this journey! Keep at it. 🙂 I can relate to the struggle with thumbnails.



  • @neschof @TessaW finally, double-digits! It is taking a little less time and not quite as anxiety-producing with each one...trying not to think about the fact that I don’t like any so far and have no idea how I would flesh any of these out!
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  • @TessaW not even halfway there and my head is empty😖! #13 was the only one I did quickly (for me that’s 20 minutes or less) and I think it’s because I started with ellipses rather than angles and my inner critic didn’t taunt me every 5 seconds about perspective being off...
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  • @BichonBistro These are all really great. If you're struggling to come up with new ones then maybe you could now take the one you like best and then do a few variations of it - zoom in and out a bit or draw the same scene from slightly different angles. Maybe keep the room the same but move around a few of the people or objects. Maybe keep it all the same but try adding a bit of value, showing where the focal point of the image will be. Really simply, just by adding transparent grey over everywhere except the focal point. Switch that focal point around the same scene and see which you like best.



  • @BichonBistro These are looking great and it looks like you are already coming up with some winners. You are doing the 50 thumbnails challenge on such an ambitious piece! Coming up with that many doesn't seem easy when you are trying to convey all those little vignettes between the characters. I think you'll learn a ton from it. These look way better than my initial thumbnails. Keep fighting the impulse to make them too detailed at this point.

    How much composition reference are you using at this point? I made a quick pinterest board for you to maybe spark some ideas- just to see a few angles- shapes- the space division- how much info you can cram into a space- architectural ideas, etc. I'll sometime browse pinterest when I get stuck and find ideas that I probably wouldn't have thought of. . . like what would happen if you put a Christmas tree in almost half the space of the comp and had to work everything else around it? Sometimes ideas will not work out- but that's ok, it's good to have the contrast of what's working and what's not.

    https://www.pinterest.com/tesapie/ideas/


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