Preliminary studies are crucial to my process. Each artist approaches prep work different but as someone who teaches both technical skills as well as the importance of design and composition, I emphasize the importance of massaging the design before you get into the nitty gritty.

Preliminary thumbnails help in a multitude of ways:

  1. Planning: Sketches help you organize ideas and create a clear roadmap, saving time and reducing frustration.
  2. Problem Solving: They allow you to identify and fix issues early, ensuring a more polished final piece.
  3. Creativity: Experimenting in sketches encourages creative exploration and innovative solutions.
  4. Confidence: Working through uncertainties in sketches builds confidence for the final execution.
  5. Cohesion: Planning ensures all elements work harmoniously, resulting in a unified piece.
  6. Efficiency: Resolving issues on paper or digitally saves time AND money. I mean, time IS money these days, right?

Recently, my school offered a free lecture about looking at artists from history who demonstrate the incredible possibilities that studies open. You can view that full lecture for free here:

Someone I look to for examples of dynamic idea development (who you all probably know and love) is Greg Manchess. If you feel like you’re struggling to figure out how to create a thumbnail/sketch effectively, then you should consider joining us at The Academy of Realist Art Boston where Greg will be doing a workshop later this year (Sept 6,7 and 8). Three days of non-stop fun and excitement await.

The full workshop can be found here.

If you’d like to pop in for just the lecture/demo, we have that as an option too here.

Hope to see you there!

Work by Greg Manchess