Crafting a story – Thumbnails

See this little fox right here below? He crept his way into the blogposts and I like him already. He`s going to help out with illustrating the points that I make.
I`m not a photographer, but I am an artist, so why not use little illustrations for the articles right? I also love drawing foxes, so…win-win.


I think I`m ready to make the jump and start the next phase of the Reminiscence comic, story wise.
Now this is just an experiment, I don`t know if I will come back running to my script to write some more, but I decided not to write out every scene and all the dialogue in detail for this moment. I feel like it`s holding me back. I heard of the technique of coming up with dialogue while sketching out the story. Which I`m going to try out first, This means I will be starting the thumbnails for Reminiscence very soon. Well that`s all nice and all, you might say, but what are thumbnails exactly? And how can I make the most of them?
I`m glad you asked.

thumbnails_01A thumbnail is just a tiny, very quick little sketch (or a series of sketches) of a scene, a character, an environment, a prop or an illustration. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. Thumbnails are meant to be really small so you can only focus on the shapes and composition. Or you can use them to figure out the pacing of a story, or to find character designs that you like, or to find the best camera angle, etc. etc. without getting too caught up in detail.

They should be the very beginning of constructing a drawing, before you try to nail that great expression, or this amazing dynamic background. What if you can`t get the rest of the character right? Or your composition turns out to be not-so-great? Then you`ll have wasted a lot of time and you`ll be very inclined to just keep fixing things that don`t really work together as opposed to scrapping it and start again.

The beauty of thumbnails is that you can do a huge pile of them in a small amount of time. And I would encourage you to do a lot, explore every possibility that you can think of. By pushing through the eventual exhaustion of ideas you can get new ideas. This can be painful, but the results can also be awesome. Just buy one of those cheap dummie sketchbooks, pull out your most comfortable drawing tool and thumbnail away! Fill up that sketchbook!

You can quickly go into your default shapes, angles, characters and what have you. A great way to avoid falling into your clichés is to do more abstract thumbnails in which you can search for new and interesting shapes and compositions. I learned this technique in the Oatley Academy, you can do a ton of those fairly quickly and keep them for future reference if you`ve done selecting the thumbnails that seem useful to you to work with. As I did here below (these are only a few, I worked out some more) on top of some thumbnails that Mikaela Benner, a classmate, made for me.

thumb_03 thumb_05 thumb_02 thumb_sea serpent

I expect, by thumbnailing my way through the story of Reminiscence, there will be new ideas for scenes and happenings that come up because I`m really thinking of the story in terms of design and interesting placement and settings. I also want to get a feel of how the comic flows, and of how to best pace the story. And I think I can do this better by sketching out the scenes and searching for good compositions and story moments than by writing at the moment. I also think it will help me in designing the various cities my characters visit and with figuring out the exact moods and character dynamics.
I will keep you updated throughout the process of course.

Have a great week everyone and see you again next week!