The beginnings of all things.
Nearly every single artwork I create (not including life drawing!) begins as a small abstract thumbnail. Whether the plans are for a giant canvas, 6′ x 10′ , or a book cover, or a Magic Card, my compositional and narrative structures are played with art a diminutive scale, ~ 1-3 inches in size.
Below are scans from my sketchbooks and the drawings and oil paintings they helped inform. Note how many times I change scale, viewpoint, cropping, etc, before choosing a final abstract to develop. Keeping the images small and devoid of details allows for fast, fluid experimentation.
The larger, highly detailed drawings are produced after I have obtained all my photographic references and before I transfer these compositions to my final support and begin working in oils.