Do I Have To Do Thumbnails?

When I teach how to do thumbnails in a workshop, I usually get a groan from the group.  “No, not thumbnails!” they cry!

 The reaction is usually something like this:

I just like to start painting…I don’t want to take the time to do thumbnails.  I really don’t understand what is so important about them.


I think thumbnails cause me to be tight…I want to be free to paint whatever.

Let me share with you what thumbnails will do for you.

Thumbnails save time and frustration.  They do this because you have thought out your design BEFORE you start painting.  You have worked out your problems, such as:

  • where your center of interest is going to be
  • how you are going to take the viewer to your center of interest
  • making sure your shapes are interesting
  • deciding ahead of time how you are going to hold your painting together….will it be your darks or lights

All your left brain thinking is done ahead of time and after you transfer your design to your paper or canvas it is now time to put the sketch away.   This is when you are free to become one with the painting because you know your design is solid. How great is that!

Your thumbnail sketch can be as detailed or as loose as you want it…there are no rules.

Your thumbnail sketch is just a beginning…but it is an important beginning that allows you the freedom to now think about super important things such as:

  • will it be a warm or cool painting
  • what colors will  you choose
  • what you want the painting to say
  • what mood do you want the painting to project
  • your color transitions
  • and don’t forget those sensual edges

Thumbnails….they are pretty darn great.

Let me know if you do thumbnails – and if you do, do you feel it helps?

Until next time…

Create Brilliantly,
– gwen

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