Thumbnail drawings are the highest form of previsualization. They are little practice paintings of the subject before the artist in the field. Each of the thumbnails has a different "take" on the subject. It either stresses one element of the scene over the others, or it is a simplification of the masses presented in a large attractive design.
Often the last two are more resolved versions of one of the previous entry's that seemed promising.
There are several advantages to doing this.
- you will have a better large design because things done small often look good "blown up" in scale. They often look simpler, which is almost always good..
- You will have examined different "takes" on the arrangement.One thumbnail might emphasize one part of the landscape,a different thumbnail, a different aspect. Looking across a farm scene, one thumbnail might make the painting about the barn and the copse of trees around it, and the other might subordinate the farm buildings to the larger valley scene in which they are set.
- You will hopefully have encountered the hidden gremlins waiting to be a problem in the painting later on. Instead of being ambushed you may have said "this is a great view, but it has a big problem! What am I going to do about that? "
- Here is the big one though. It is often easy to show up on a location and paint the "regular" arrangement of the subject, or perhaps just that inflicted on you by an awkward or overly symmetrical static set of shapes before you in nature. Your first thumbnail was probably that arrangement, the one that would show what was present before the artist. One of the later thumbnails progressed from that to a more creative arrangement or simply AN ARRANGEMENT .It's not the first picture you would have shown up and made. It is more like what you would have made the third or fourth time you painted the location.