Thumbnail sketches are small, abbreviated drawings to quickly explore composition and ideas. They are done rapidly and with no corrections or changes. Thumbnail sketches help artists remember big ideas of a subject or composition. Clyfford Still created thumbnail sketches throughout his career to explore a variety of subjects.
- Drawing instrument
- Begin by sketching some frames for your sketches. Experiment with size, ratio, and shape.
- Sketch out the main parts of your composition.
- If you come across a composition you like, do some additional sketches to continue playing with it.
- Add color if you’d like.
- Thumbnail sketches let you try out many different ideas quickly. Don’t focus too long on details or be critical of yourself.
- Challenge yourself to explore compositions and ideas that are outside your comfort zone.
- If you find a thumbnail sketch you really like, you could make some notes about the subject, the colors, or anything else you’d like to remember.
- Turn your thumbnail sketches into larger, more detailed, and finished works of art.
- Check out some examples of Clyfford Still’s thumbnail
sketches below like PNX-7, 1935; PN-3, 1943; or PP-607, 1972.