I have two of these, like most people, and that is nothing new.
Thumbnail sketches are nothing new either–artists have been making them forever, for many reasons.
I am VERY interested in creating them, scads of them, hordes of them. But, like any practice you want to assimilate, you must find a way to make it fit into your habitual patterns. I often doodle ~ mostly with lines. Now I will doodle in an additional mode, exploring value. Using thumbnails is a terrific way to do that.
My Google search caused me to trip over THIS blog. I couldn’t stop looking at Paul’s page of abstract doodles. They are, in a word, gorgeous.
(I have asked him for permission to show the doodles here and will add them if it is granted).
I decided to find out more about this Paul guy, and was quite agog over his profile:
I am an artist working in the film industry. Currently, I’m a Production Designer at DreamWorks Animation, though previously, I worked for several years at Sony Pictures Animation. I’ve also work on many live-action films, primarily as a Matte Artist at Disney. I was also fortunate to work as an Art Director on the Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand.
I am a HUGE fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so I was suitably impressed.
This is my goal: to look around me and abstract the values and shapes I see into small studies such as Paul has illustrated ~ for my own artistic growth. As Paul said, in answer to a comment on his post:
I don’t develop these further, and turn them into something finished. But they are like practice for me….like a piano player practicing scales. Do it a bunch of times and it becomes second nature. I learn a lot about composition from doing these little doodles: focus, balance, value, proportion, juxtapositions of shapes etc., which I definitely apply in my finished pieces. My feeling is when you’re not worrying about rendering stuff, you can concentrate solely on composition.
Jane R. Hofstetter, who has a terrific book I own and continue to study, 7 Keys To Great Paintings: Make your artwork memorable by mastering the seven keys to great paintings, insists:
The overall pattern of value shapes is the skeleton on which a painting is built. The eye needs this structure to create movement and excitement underneath the subject.
Laurel Weathersbee advises:
Learn to look at shapes and values, not things… switch over to the right brain’s understanding of spatial relationships, instead of depending on the left brain technical skills.
OK, I’m off on my pony, to doodle. Just call me Canuck Doodle. Yankee Doodle wants to be handy with the girls, but I just want to keep improving at this art game. That would be just dandy.