I have a confession to make...
I hate thumbnails! Let me rephrase that by saying, I hated thumbnails. Up until recently I have always felt my thumbnails left a lot to be desired, not only for myself but also the client. While I have never gotten a complaint as to the level they were ever at I just felt they never really showed my final intentions. I’d always be chomping at the bit to move along and get started throwing value down on the final canvas as quickly as possible. I just didn't enjoy all the preparatory work involved with creating the final image, even though I knew it all was necessary.
Recently I have forced myself to really push my thumbnails as far as possible, trying to create full blown miniature black and white paintings of the image I have in my mind. This has helped me immensely! Even though I spend more time on these sketches it saves time down the road at a later stage of the illustration. Everything is now figured out and there is no trial & error moving forward. I know what I am looking for in reference, what I have to do for the final drawing, and even know what’s happening value wise with the final painting. Best of all, I have really come to enjoy the thumbnail stage of a project now!
Check out the thumbnails above (click to enlarge) from some recent projects and let me know what you think. Also let me know your thoughts on preparatory work. Love it or hate it?