When crafting a visual narrative, creating thumbnails is a crucial and often overlooked part of the process. It’s about helping you figure out the pacing and dialogue over the course of a chapter or issue of your comic. As the story comes together you’ll also be able to see where the holes are in your story, as well as what needs to be cut away.
This method of planning is great for workshopping an idea to see if it’s viable before you begin drawing full pages. Once you’ve written out your rough outline (click here for tips on how to construct your own outline), sketching it out, at this stage of the process, allows you to see how it will read and where to re-balance parts of your story. In the end, it saves you a lot of time.
Thumbnails can be as simple as a series of very rough sketches of pages, typically taking up an A4 page. The goal is to get the initial panel layout/composition on paper and determine where the emotional beats should go. It helps you recognise when you might be repeating the same types of angles as well, and thus, where to mix things up.
Using thumbnails means you maintain a consistent tone and visual style throughout your comic. You’re able to understand the scope of what you need to learn, to accomplish certains shots or expressions as well as where you need to tighten plot points and loose threads. It also gives you a chance to get messy and fluid with your drawings which is a good way to kick the “perfectionist” habit.
There is no “right way” to do thumbnails. It’s about the process itself; sorting out what is in your head and getting it down on paper. It’s about creating a safe space for you to test ideas and see where it is that you might need extra work.
Do you use thumbnails as part of your comic creation process? Let us know in the comments below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST) where we’ll be talking about this topic!
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Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!
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