A thumbnail drawing is like a preliminary sketch. There is no set size for a thumbnail, except that – as the name suggests – it is small or short. Anything between one and two inches square would be considered a thumbnail.
Artists use them to quickly sketch out an impression or idea that they can use and transfer to canvas. They are usually rough, and done in pen or pencil which is suitable for the size.
Thumbnails are also used to finalize ideas on where to position objects (for balance in a drawing), and to assist with obtaining correct proportions. If you want to do a large, complicated drawing, you can use a series of thumbnails to help with setting it up. Just cut and arrange the squares to get the effect you’re seeking.
If you keep putting off drawing because you think you need a good block of time, then thumbnail drawings would be your solution. They are an excellent way to consistently practice drawing because they don’t take a lot of time to complete. If you think about it, one square is better than no square! With each drawing you do, you are learning and improving.
Whenever you read about a new drawing tip, implement it by doing several thumbnails. Repetition is proven to be the best way to learn anything.
A good trick to staying enthusiastic about drawing, is to draw subjects that appeal to you. If you carry a sketchbook with you, draw up a series of squares on a couple of pages, and capture those things that you admire the most in your daily life. It makes a very interesting sketchbook, and it helps you to learn more about yourself as you gaze at the assortment that you quickly sketched during the week.
If you see something you like in a paper or magazine, cut it out and store it with your reference materials. These come in really handy when you are wondering what you can draw next. The fact that you cut it out means that you are interested and attracted to that subject. Then you can create a thumbnail at your leisure.
Eventually your sketchbook will be a series of imaginary squares as you sketch anything and everything all on one page. You won’t need to draw or paste a grid into your book. Your sketchbook will become a work of art, all unto itself.
While you are there, you will find a link to download a grid that you can print out anytime you like.
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