Thumbnail sketch


A small drawing, done rapidly, that serves as the basis for a larger work by capuring the essence of the subject matter. Origin of the term is attributed to English painter William Hogarth who, sitting in a tavern, wanted to record a scene he was witnessing. Having no paper handy, he reportedly sketched the scene on his thumbnail. Sources: Kimberley Reynolds and Richard Seddon, "Illustrated Dictionary of Art Terms"; Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"<br><br>Small (credit card size or so) tonal and compositional sketches to try out design or subject ideas.