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



  • @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/



  • @neschof thanks so much for giving me more ideas of how to move forward 👍🏻



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

    @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/

    you are right, as frustrated as I’ve gotten, it’s still a learning experience and part of that learning is definitely to fight that detail impulse 😝

    I saved 76 “santa’s workshop” references to my photos and made notes about what I liked in each, but only a few were noted for composition. You got me thinking to start looking more for interiors in general. Interior architectural details are woefully lacking in my imagination, so that is something I’m going to focus on.

    I tend not to go to pinterest much (I can’t remember what turned me off about it), but I went to your idea board and it’s great! I’m going to shoot for 10 more vertical format, then try some horizontal. I am wondering if part of the reason I am so slow is because I’m putting something down, seeing it’s not working, then erasing and moving stuff around to try to make things work, instead of letting the “not working” thumbnail be a stepping stone to the next one where I make those changes. Joy Heyer said doing thumbnails is like stretching. It’s taking me awhile to loosen up!

    Thanks so much for the pinterest board ideas 😊



  • So I never got to 50 thumbnails, but I learned something trying. The stopping point with every thumbnail was difficulty constructing the shape of the interior using different points of view. An insightful comment on IG by @neschof prompted me to step back and re-evaluate, just as I was about ready to throw in the towel and go back to my character-only format. She talked about using Lee’s process to improve a piece more within my comfort zone. When she mentioned “baby steps”, I had my aha! moment. In a previous career, I helped autistic children learn by breaking tasks into manageable steps and using methods that played to their strengths and set them up for success. (I think that’s one reason I find @Lee-White’s systematic approach so appealing).

    I chose a subject that plays too heavily to my weaknesses (perspective and composition). So I decided to think about how I could set myself up to succeed in working on these skills. I went through my thumbnails, took my proportional 5x7 thumbnail frame and looked for “spots” that would emphasize my strength (Bichon characters), but also require some perspective and composition. I tried “Step 3 Rough Sketches with Values” with 2 thumbnails, #7 and #9.

    #7 was too frustrating because of the scene falling below the horizon line. #9 was more satisfying because it required me to work out the measurements of the candycane railing using perspective and I could incorporate some of Will’s “50 Things” concepts on the “shelf below the elf”.

    So I am leaning toward developing #9. I welcome suggestions about the composition that don’t require a change in perspective (adding or subtracting elements, moving things around, values, etc.)

    This is a S-L-O-W-ember piece 😉
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  • SVS OG

    This is a super cute idea, and I love how you're sharing your thought process - really helpful to see how you're incorporating things you learned from different videos into the whole thing. I just want to say, however, that they're all good dogs. Just all of them. They're good. 😄



  • 😊you're right @Kat! EF324B7A-EC8F-485C-94C7-D11188B8194F.jpeg



  • @Kat how’s this 😂
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  • SVS OG

    @BichonBistro LOL love it!



  • It's great to hear your self reflection and progress. Knowing that perspective and backgrounds have been a challenge for you, I was very impressed with what you produced in your thumbnails. There where a lot of interesting and convincing scenes with different view points. 👏🏽 👏🏽 👏🏽 It seems like a significant step toward growth.



  • @TessaW Thanks! I am going to keep working on more complex thumbnails for this concept as I gain confidence with perspective (the Loomis reference you gave me awhile back is in my educational toolbox) and composition. In the meantime, I will back down to very simple scenes to learn perspective for points of view I want to achieve (below the horizon is high on my list). I used some of the photo references I picked out initially (and from your pinterest idea board) to work out horizon lines and vanishing points with draw-overs last week. I realized I need a lot more practice doing that before I can accurately construct my own scenes. You've always provided great resources, thanks so much!



  • @BichonBistro I love it, what a cute idea!


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