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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Three Good Reasons to Do Your Thumbnails

'Back to the Mountains'         9x12            pastel           ©Karen Margulis
It is friendly reminder day! Maybe you have been very good and consistently do thumbnails or small value studies before painting. Or maybe you are like me and often skip this important step.  I don't know why I don't make it a part of my studio painting routine. I do thumbnails for plein air and I know they help.  As I shared the importance of doing black and white thumbnails with a student it reminded me just how much they do help!

Remember to take the time for thumbnails. They don't take long and it will be worth the effort. Here are three reasons:

1.  Thumbnails save you time and paper.  It is much better to figure out if your composition will work in a quick study than to waste good paper making corrections to a composition with issues. In my thumbnail (above) I saw immediately that the mountain shape was the same as the shape of the treeline. I also didn't like the shape of the water. I made adjustments when I blocked in the painting.

2. Thumbnails help us simplify a busy reference. My photo was filled with lots of bushes and trees...lots of spots of light and dark. The black and white thumbnail allowed me to simplify the busyness into a few bigger simple shapes.

3. Thumbnails make you a better artist. Doing thumbnails is like doing pushups....they make you a stronger painter. They are  exercises that gradually build your ability to see value and shapes and what makes a good design.  Thumbnails add up...so don't neglect them!

If you would like to explore more about doing thumbnails and a method for using them you might like to read my thumbnail posts here:
Five Steps to a Good Thumbnail
How to Make Thumbnail Studies Fun

1 comment:

Julie Ford Oliver said...

What a wonderful view.
Love the way your painted this and your design is very strong so I am full of admiration for all of this painting.
Thanks for reminding me of the thumbnails.. I teach it - believe in it... but do not always do it.