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Weekly Thumbnails: Week 4

Hello everyone!

Today’s post is just a quick one to show you my latest thumbnails. Each of this week’s sketches was done using the iPastels app, which I am liking more and more now that I have had a little time to get to know how to use it!

My favorite feature? The smudging tool, of course! Can’t keep my hands out of the pastel—even virtually… 🙂




Hope you enjoyed seeing these. Have a great day everyone! 🙂


Posted in studio tip, thumbnail, Value thumbnail

Weekly Thumbnails: Week 3 (Plus a tip!)

Hello Creative Friends!

I am here to share week 3 of my thumbnail sketches. But before I do that, I would like to share a quick tip!

Most of you know that I am using two different art apps to create my thumbnails.  It’s fun, relaxing, versatile, and saves me time at the easel. (For info on the two apps I am using click here and scroll down the post.)

Within the first few uses of these apps I decided I also needed to purchase an Apple Pencil to do my thumbnails justice. For me, sketching with a finger on my iPad felt akin to fingerpainting with about the same results! 😦

That led me to purchase a 1st generation pencil to use with my older iPad. It works great!

All too soon, however, I discovered a minor, but annoying issue….the pencil is round, not hexagonal like the 2nd generation pencil, and will roll off of whatever you put it on—not good for the sensitive electronic stuff inside.

What to do??? 

Wrangle the metal clip off of one of my Micron Pigma pens!

Voila! No more rolling pencil….

Now on to this week’s thumbnails!



I used thumbnail #17 in a recent painting I will be sharing soon. It was created from a free reference photo offered by Susan Jenkins on her YouTube channel….More about that in another post.

Till next time, friends, try doing some thumbnails!


Posted in thumbnail, value, Value thumbnail

How Cropping Your Thumbnail Sketches Can Help You Create Stronger Paintings!

Hello everyone!

I hope this you are all finding time in this new year to follow your creative dreams!

So far this year I am succeeding at doing more in my artistic endeavors…painting in pastel, trying out new watercolor techniques, and even keeping up with my thumbnail sketches (fingers crossed).

As I have completed more thumbnails, I have discovered an unexpected bonus that I want to share with you. 🙂

Traditional thumbnails are usually done on paper with pen, pencils, or markers. They are small and are meant to be done quickly as a way to try out a variety of formats and compositions for a proposed painting before you invest time, money, and creative energy on a larger scale work.  The reasoning is that if a painting doesn’t work at this smaller size, it won’t work when it’s larger.

While producing thumbnails in this way doesn’t have to take a long time, it can easily turn into something that you skip altogether because it can feel like a chore….

As you know from my last few posts, I have recently begun using a few different art apps to help me create my thumbnail sketches (see my last few posts by scrolling down this page).

When I complete a sketch using these apps, they allow me to save the image I create to my Photos on my iPad.

From Photos I can select the image of a completed thumbnail, click on the “share” button, and then select “duplicate” from the menu which will place a copy of the image in photos right next to the original.

Then I simply select the duplicated image, and then select Edit.

My iPad’s photo editing is pretty basic, but one thing it does brilliantly is allow me to crop my thumbnails very quickly using a variety of sizes and formats. That means I don’t have to keep redrawing my original in order to try out new sizes and formats.

This saves time and can open up creative possibilities that I might not otherwise consider!

Here is an example of a recent thumbnail I did of a beach scene. I created this sketch using the iPastels app, and while I thought it’s ”okay”, I wondered if cropping could make it stronger. 

Original Thumbnail using iPastels

 I then duplicated the image and then cropped it into a variety of formats.

Vertical Format with a closer viewpoint


Square Format creates tension

Panoramic View

Extreme Vertical Format

As you can see from the examples above, you can easily try out a variety of formats, zoom in or out on your focal point, and just generally see if your proposed painting will “work” at this smaller scale.

It can also serve you in the future. Let’s say that I paint my picture using the square format, but a few weeks or even months later I decide to experiment with a panoramic view. I can quickly and easily do that just by duplicating my original thumbnail and cropping it into a panoramic format.

I hope this inspires you to put your photo cropping tools to use on your thumbnails.

Happy painting!


Posted in thumbnail, Value thumbnail

Art Apps in the New Year!

Hello Creative Friends! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! (Blows noise maker and throws confetti into the air….)

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, per se; however, I do practice a fair amount of reflection on each year as it passes and a new one arrives. 

I think of it as a healthy way to take stock, look at what has been working and what hasn’t, what my priorities have been and how they might need shifting, and just generally develop a mindset of being grateful and present in my own life!

One way I do this is to make a slide show on my desktop computer of all of my favorite artworks I have created up to the present. It’s a simple way to see my work all in one place, like my own digital art gallery!

Another way I take stock is to take time to change out the wall art in my home/studio, incorporating newer favorite pieces, but leaving up older ones that help me see how I have hopefully grown as an artist. In this way, I can literally SEE how I’ve spent my creative time over the year.

But let’s be honest. Any year in review will probably reveal that there were also challenges involving our creative efforts.

A big challenge for me in 2018 was just finding the time to make art. Part of that was because we changed how we homeschool our daughter and we were finding ourselves tied to a computer 6 or 7 hours each day “doing school.”


After a quick course correction and a return to the way we used to homeschool, life came into a little more balance, but I still found myself struggling with making time for art.

So, I have decided that this year I will begin a new practice using some art apps to help me create thumbnail sketches! Hopefully, they will put the fun back into the pre-painting planning stage and save me time when I actually sit down to paint (fingers crossed….) 🙂

I will be focusing on two main apps: Brushes Redux and iPastels.
Both are available in the App Store as free versions, though a few more features are available for iPastels for $4.99.

As I move forward into this year, I hope to be sharing the thumbnails I create. More about that in a future post. 
I will also probably share some video in the future showing how I use these apps.

Until then, you might do some of your own reflecting. What is going well in your creative world? What needs tweaking? What could you do less of? More of? 

Whatever it is, Creative Friends, 

Do more of that!

Till next time….