I hate thumbnailing, but i know they're super important, help me realize this
thing is i love sketching without knowing where i'm going. i like abstract art. but sometime i want to convey an idea i have, so that will definitely suck if i won't thumbnail, a.k.a plan before doing it.
how do you enjoy your thumbnailing? or is it just a logical technical process to you? did you find it to be fun when doing it after a few times?
please let me know your thoughts and challenges with this-if you had any.
@arielg thumbnailing has become a favorite step of mine! It's a time to not be precious with drawings, to explore and discover new ways of approaching an idea. But it took a few attempts to get there.
I used to be resistant to thumbnailing (why waste time on a bunch of ideas when I can just plow forward with my first "great" thought?) Then I took a couple live classes (like Turbocharging Your Creativity) where the exercises included coming up with 20, 30 thumbnails of an idea, and it was TOUGH. I could do 5 ideas, then I'd get a headache trying to think of more and need to take a break. But after doing thumbnails for projects a few times, it's gotten easier, the ideas flow faster. Now I can put down 10 quick explorations and review which ideas are strong enough to continue with. (Usually it's not the first one, heh). It's actually QUICKER to spend time exploring ideas through scribbles to find a good idea to go forward with.
I think you can adapt your love of sketching without a path to the thumbnail stage. It's all about experimenting, you just don't get too detailed at this stage. Get those big shapes/ideas down. If it works here, it will work in the final.
@arielg yeah, thumbnailing for me is not what i would call enjoyable as such, but i really find it essential. The success of the piece depends on it. Its a time saver ultimately, ill thumnail for one or two evenings, couple of hours a time, and try and get down whats in my head, see if it works. I just keep doing em till i get a spark of something that works, normally about a dozen, im not into this 50 thumbnail thing, but i will keep going till theres something to build on, then im into photoshop to mess about with it there.
The fun of art for me is in that stage when you get something that works and you start working out the colour and lighting. Once its just down to rendering i can get a bit bored of it.
I suppose a builder doesnt really enjoy drawing up plans for the house, the satisfaction comes from having a successfully executed project , looking at the lovely house at the end. Then selling it. But they still have to be drawn up. Bad metaphor, i know.
thank you, that sounds beneficial with the mileage on thumbing.
I know about the planning, that its essential. i have no desire to become a pro. as of yet. but i do aspire to deliver my ideas as clearly as possible, which most of the time fail. i like my drawings to have philosphical meaning, or tell a story with a catch etc.
perhaps doodling on thumbing shouldn't take couple of hours? maybe a few minutes, because its just shapes?
sounds like you're in the same view point as me
@arielg I don't spend more than a minute or so on thumbnails, do one and on to the next! Maybe set 15 minutes to doodle and just see what your brain comes up with. Try to get a dozen like @gavpartridge said. (The exercise to do 50 thumbs is more of a kickstart - if you can do that many for the assignment, then 12 thumbs for regular work should be no problem!) It's kind of like composition gestures.
The thumbs don't all have to be unique ideas. If one idea sparks you, try different angles on that - zoom in, zoom out, focal point in one spot then another, try framing it, etc. When you sit back you can usually see one or two strong compositions and develop those further!
@carriecopadraws oh, my problem is not coming up with ideas. its just making that of a habit. did you just start doing that with studying? and then it became your habit? or did you see the value of it after a few times? just interested to know your process in this.
Carmanda last edited by
For me thumbnails are the sketching without knowing where I'm going stage of things, so I find them pretty relaxing. I've found them super helpful for developing a vague idea or finding story elements I didn't expect or initially plan. I also use them a lot for days when I don't have enough brain to focus on a piece but still want to draw. Their short-form nature lets my slippery-focused mind stay calm and feel productive and then I save them (in a sketchbook if physical, in a specific sketch folder if digital) to discover later when looking for a project to work on.
I don't thumbnail for every piece I do; sometimes I am in casual drawing mode and just Do A Thing, but my pieces and stories I thumbnail for usually come out a lot stronger.
@arielg I'm not sure how much this translates to abstract art, my stuff is more concrete, but here's where I start:
- What do I want to draw? (let's say a character riding a horse)
- Mind Mapping: list out things related to this theme, go nuts, write anything (uhh, cowboy hats, rope, Pony Express, western, steampunk, fat pony, pegasus). This should trigger some ideas for you to start with, and you can come back to this when adding details later.
- Thumbnails! Draw rectangles in the proportions you want your piece to be and start scribbling in them. (how can I show a pegasus Pony Express in a cool way?)
- Inspiration: If I get stuck on thumbs, I look at my library of inspiration for cool camera angles, poses, environments. Then try to make 3 more thumbs.
The key is to keep going, just keep swimming, and try not to fall in love with the first idea. I think it will get easier if you practice!
TessaW last edited by
I used to hate thumbnailing. Now I can produce thumbnails without too much strain, but I don't think I'm to the point were I can confidently chose the best one. I often find myself committing to a thumbnail that I've thoughtfully planned out, only to have to change things fairly significantly as the final starts progressing. I feel like I waste a lot of time this way, but I'm hoping that will improve with more experience.
MyArt Multiverse last edited by
I had a bad experience with thumbnails once and haven't wanted to since...kinda like an experience I had with peppermint schnapps....
I had a professor...for multiple classes in college who required us to do 100 thumbnails for each character idea...and sometimes we had more than 1 character per assignment
Buuut I do understand the need for them to a point. So hopefully I'll enjoy them one day lol.
thumbnailing is not my favorite. i often stick to around 5 thumbnails or sometimes around 10 if it's tough one. it's certainly a love-hate relationship for me
arielg last edited by arielg
Hi carrie, i think you should read again what i've said. its not about how to create the thumbnail nor is it about inspiration.
but also, thank you for taking the time and the encouragement!
There's no magic answer here, and I think unfortunately no real effective way to motivate anyone to do anything they don't want to do. This is no different than carpentry, or metal working or any other craft that demands attention to detail. We've got to come to terms with our own processes and ultimately we're responsible for steps we add or corners we decide to cut. If you're a master at your craft - any craft at all - the final result is simply the culmination of what you've decided to put into it during the process.
No one is going to point a gun to anyone's head and make them use 6 progressive passes of sandpaper to make sure the finish on a table looks the best it can. No one is going to force anyone to put an initial coating on a canvas to give it a better surface to work on so you can more effectively layer your painting. No one is going to make anyone create 5, 10 or 20 thumbnails to make sure the results are the best they can be.
If thumbnailing isn't your thing, then own and and don't do it. If you don't know if it makes a difference, I'd say you owe it to yourself to do 20 or 30 paintings where you religiously do at least 5 thumbnails before starting your process. Then decide whether you want to do it or not.
@arielg well, you did ask for people’s thoughts....
arielg last edited by arielg
@jdubz I disagree that it falls in. i wasn't assaulting her. at least i didn't mean to. i was pointing out at my questions in first post and after answering her twice, that it wasn't about finding ideas on what to thumbnail, or how to thumbnail. she kept going with answering the wrong question? is that bad to point out someone who isn't answering the question was asked?
also, to your points, they are obvious. that is why i was asking for people owns journey dealing with making a habit of thumbing and making it enjoyable. i don't think i was disrespectful as you suggest. but its ok, if that's how you feel.
my journey is my own as you've said. and this was not an attention seeking post, but an innocent interest of how people dealt and tackled this problem, which is obviously an issue for some here. nothing wrong there so far in my book.
@Nyrryl-Cadiz yes. but i was specific as to what thoughts?
Neha Rawat last edited by
@arielg If you're up for a fun challenge, you could try this:
"You don't value something until it has gone".
Next time you have something to draw, don't think, and just draw your piece from start to finish with the FIRST composition that you can think of. Not second, not third, the FIRST.
After you've completed it, THEN you sit and think about all the things you could have done differently if you had just planned it better.
Repeat until you "realise" the importance of thumbnailing
@Neha-Rawat hehe good one, but i think it will take forever to me to realize it,also, that's what i've been doing for 2 years. i can enjoy my drawings even if people dont understand them...
but i'm getting there thanks to you all.
thank you all for posting your thoughts, if anyone has more, i'm still listening !
MyArt Multiverse last edited by
@arielg I think you might have tagged the wrong person lol I didn't say it falls into anything.
@MyArt-Multiverse oh boy. you're correct! my bad! very sorry <thumps head>
just interested to know your process in this.
Well you did express interest in my process, so I shared. That is the habit I have now, and my art has improved because of it.
did you just start doing that with studying? and then it became your habit? or did you see the value of it after a few times? just interested to know your process in this.
This was answered in the first reply - I took a class that had thumbnail exercises, saw the value in it, and it became a habit. Thumbnails became fun for me because I know it makes me a stronger artist.
@jdubz has it right - there's no magic way to love thumbnails, you've got to forge your own path with your art. Thumbnails are a useful tool, use it or don't.