Monday, January 12, 2015

Wishes and Surprises
Oliver Twist on the road to London; a thumbnail sketch, approx 3" x 4"

I wish that, along with drawing from life and other necessities for artists, doing thumbnail sketches had always been a favorite occupation. But it hasn't been, probably because I am a terribly undisciplined, lazy man.

But I'm doing them. In part because I must (for an upcoming project not related to Charles Dickens); but mostly because they have suddenly become entertaining. A nice surprise.
The Artful Dodger finds Oliver Twist; another thumbnail sketch, approx. 2.5" x 3"

Thumbnails are supposed to be for working out--and I mean Working out--compositional ideas. Wish I could say I did that, but no--just sat on the couch like a schlub and drew these, nearly without being conscious. Suppose it shows, but a very good time was had nonetheless.

Where'd they come from and why? I was looking through a book about Harry Clarke--an illustrator-god--and saw this...

...very weird illustration. (Um, find me an  illustration by Harry Clarke that isn't weird.)
It caught my eye--the yellow and black a surprise--and it's been on my mind all week.

Wish I could tell you why Oliver Twist ended up the subject of my yellow, (er orange--another surprise) thumbnails. Oliver Twist was not on my mind at all, but it is a favorite book (Charles Dickens being an author-god).
Fagin, Sikes, and Nancy; yet another thumbnail, approx. 4" x 5"

Wish I did more life drawing, worked harder at composition, and made millions of thumbnails. And probably would if I was goal-oriented, immortal, or something else that I'll never be. Unless I get surprised someday.

 And last, thanks very much to all of you who read my blog. The follows and comments are great too but mostly I appreciate that you take the time to come by.


  1. I just tried making thumbnails at the end of last year! All those years and not a one had ever crossed my mind before. I hope I can continue it, but I lack discipline. Your thumbs are awesome. Uhh...your thumbnails. Uhh...your thumbnail sketches! Can't say I've ever seen your thumbs, now that I think of it. 😉

    1. Hi Maggie--We artists can be an undisciplined lot, yet work so hard! Thanks for the compliment. I hope I continue to like drawing them. Sometimes they help, sometimes I feel they stifle me. Oh well. (Sometimes my thumb shows up on Instagram, haha!)

  2. I've been working small lately, and your thumbnails above are an inspiration to work that way first - the Harry Clarke sent me running for my Beardsley book - a master at using the image plane in this way.

    1. Thanks AHA--glad this was somewhat worthwhile. And yep, I love Beardsley too!

  3. Tom , I am a terribly undisciplined, lazy man !!
    Interesting, but I think it apply only to illustrators..... so because I am not one of them , I do not have to make thumbnails . :)
    But seriously, I was always fascinated by compositions in Art Nouveau ... no wonder many artists are influenced also by Harry Clarke....

    1. Somehow I don't think that is true artisjokken--your work speaks of much discipline!


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