Tyler has been trying to get me to thumbnail for years. Any time I wanted to create anything, he would suggest I thumbnail my idea first. If you're not familiar with thumbnailing, in short, they are small sketches drawn out to get a better idea of what you want to create. If you google "thumbnail sketches," you'll get some really great examples, way better then my examples, haha! ;)
Thumbnailing can be used in any creative field. I first started thumbnailing on a regular basis last year when I prepared for photo sessions. I would spend time thinking about different posing ideas and the photos I envisioned. When I came up with ideas I would sketch them out. My sketches weren't elaborate, they were mainly stick figures and different shapes, but with my ideas mapped out I knew what I wanted to do when my photo session started. During my photo session if my mind went blank I could pull out my sketches and review my plans.
INCREASING YOUR WORKFLOW
This year I started thumbnailing all of my photo sessions for the blog. In previous years I would kind of have an idea for what I wanted to do and then I would start working. While I was shooting I would be developing my idea at the same time. This type of workflow isn't bad, but it can lead to a project taking longer then it has to. In my case, because I didn't map out my idea or thumbnail my vision I spent extra time during the shoot trying to figure out what I wanted.
PLANNING SAVES TIME
As mentioned above, thumbnailing can be used for any creative endeavor. Not only do I use thumbnailing for photography, but I use thumbnailing for design as well. When I set aside time to prepare for photo sessions and design work, I'm saving time in the long run. When I sit down and thumbnail my ideas for a photo session, I get through my session faster. I have a clear plan for my creative vision and I'm able to execute it more efficiently. When I brainstorm design ideas I can thumbnail all the ideas and see which design will work best. Once I begin designing in Squarespace I can bring the design together more quickly.
Having a vision for what you plan to create gives you a clear road map to follow.
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PRETTY
Don't let the idea of thumbnailing or sketching out your ideas scare you. When Tyler first suggested I thumbnail my ideas I was pretty insecure about it. Tyler's thumbnails were always well drawn. I always felt like my thumbnails looked silly. My thumbnails don't look pretty or well drawn, but I knew what my ideas are behind each sketch. Plus, the only person that sees my sketch book is Tyler, ha! Your thumbnail sketches aren't for anyone else but you. You don't have to show anyone unless you want to.
MOVE PAST DISCOURAGEMENT
I never thought thumbnailing would increase my workflow. I felt like I was adding another step and making the process longer. I also became discouraged because I wasn't always able to envision what I wanted to create. I knew I wanted to create something, but I wasn't sure how my end product would look. Adding something new to your workflow sometimes feels like it's more work. It was hard when I first tried to add thumbnailing to my workflow. It made me feel even more self-conscious about my creative process. However, overtime, thumbnailing started to feel more natural and it helped me to understand my ideas better, enabling me to move seamlessly through my process.
What do you think? Do you think you'll give thumbnailing a try? Is thumbnailing already a part of your creative process? xoxo. Samantha