More on Thumbnails – Setting up

While I am talking about thumbnails, let me show you some helpful tools I have devised.  First, let me start with some stencils I made.  They are made from a lightweight card stock.  Black on one side and white on the other.  I cut them with an exact-o knife and then glued them together.

Template Bag

This is a bag of stencils for thumbnail sketches.  I taped a plastic resealable bag in the back of my sketchbook.  Not only do they serve as great stencils, but they work as a viewfinder.  I have a multitude of aspect ratio’s to choose from.  I punched holes in them so I could put them on a string, but quite honestly, I have never done that. The bag taped up in the back works so well, I never felt the need to make them even more portable.

White side

I wrote the ratio on the white side.  That way when I am looking to do a 4×6 work of art, for example, I know to pull out the 2:3 ratio to use as a stencil or viewfinder.  For the most part, the outside border is one inch.  That seems to be wide enough to isolate the view and can also serve as another measurement when I am working in thumbnails.

Page of templates

My goal with this particular project is to get 15 thumbnails done, I used the 2:3 ratio stencil and randomly placed them on the page. In a practical sense, this is only good for a 4×6 if I was doing prints or standard canvas sizes, but because I plan to put a border on these, I can play with the ratio of the border to get the size I want. When I do others, I will probably use a 3:4 or one of the others to help decide what size I do want to use for the actual image. The project I am currently working on has a minimum size of 6 inches and a maximum size of 36 inches. For that reason, I am sticking to ratio’s that have at least one number that is a multiple of 6. Math class is finally coming in handy.

This is another way that taking a chunk of time in the beginning saves a lot of time in the end. It took quite a while to get all of these cut out and glued, but since making them, I have used them for thumbnail stencils, measuring, right angles, viewfinders and straight edges. I would like to make a few that are specifically for using a golden mean in composition.

As part of my efforts to improve my productivity this year, I am hitting the planning portion of my art pretty hard. I hope to eliminate my tendency to abandon work because it just didn’t seem to be working out.  By making all the mistakes in this small form, (Thank you again, Gregory Manchess!) I can eliminate what can go wrong and get closer to what I am trying to accomplish when I get excited about a project.


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