Let’s Talk Process

So for the anthology we ask that you create thumbnails before going into a refine sketch, and then finished the final art work.

“But what’s a thumbnail?” To help clarify what we mean and expect at each of these steps, we’ll explain and also link to some examples from artists for visualizing.

Thumbnails – tiny, quick sketches in which you explore your subject and layout. These drawings might not make any sense to someone else looking at it, but give you the general sense of what you’d see.

Thumbnails help you not focus on detail and more on the main idea. You may explore values in your thumbnails as well; such as which areas are light, which are dark. Value can make or break a composition. You want to make A LOT of thumbnails before processing to the next step.

Refined Sketch – Once you’ve chosen your final idea and composition from your thumbnails, it’s time to sketch it in the correct size for the final artwork. Here you flesh out the shapes, anatomy, and more detail! This is when you pull out reference to make sense the drawing is solid.

Final Art – This includes final inked lines and color/shading. It’s adding finishing touches to the art to what you considered polished(usually based on style).


There are many examples that can be found of an artists’ process. Artist you follow probably share some for more professional paid work they do so be sure to look around! Here are some examples, which we will try to post more of in the weeks to come.

A Comic in Process: from Thumbnails to Finished by Karen Gillmore

The Nutcracker by Wylie Becker

*Marley’s Ghost by Gideon Kendall(*a little different since he’s playing off someone else’s thumbnails but the process is still there!)


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