Making thumbnails

When the overall visual design has been set we start doing thumbnail sketches. These are sketches done within ten minutes a picture. The trick about thumbnail sketches is speed and the moment you slow down, you shold consider yourself about finished with your picture. The police sketches, for instance, were made by drawing on top of a basic pose of a man to avoid unneccessary drawing. There should be no time for thinking when doing thumbnail pictures, only drawing. We both used Adobe Photoshop and a wacom4 drawing tablet for all the drawing of the thumbnails.

It was important not to zoom in on the picture when drawing because the harder we made it for ourselves to draw detail, the less detail was going to be drawn. And it worked for the most part.

I felt a bit intimidated because of the stress level coming with the time limit. When you draw it can be a peaceful experience, but that usually also equates to slow work for a lot of people. I think that description fits me very well but the more I drew, the more fun it became to push myself to finish a little bit faster.

The thumbnails for the weapons were more complicated and were not hurried as much as the police characters. This might have been unwise due to the pictures becoming a bit to complex and time consuming, but it helped with having more straight and clear lines. With the time aspect in the back of the head, the weapons took shape in a reasonable pace.

Each piece took around 10 minutes to make, give or take.

Each piece here took around 5 minutes to make, sometimes a few minutes were added due to me getting caught up in details.

– Matilda Karlsson (technical artist)


I agree with what Matilda wrote above, that It was fun working with thumbnail sketches because you have to constantly push yourself to finish a sketch a little bit faster every time. For me this was a new way of dealing with creation of concept art and even though it was difficult to keep within the time frame of each thumbnail, it’s a great way to improve your drawing skills.

The concept art I’ve made pictures the environments of the slum parts in the city, and some scenario-related structures, architecture and machinery. I tried to finish each thumbnail off with some general shading to add, to a small extent, some detph to the images. Each frame took between 5-15 minutes to create which is a stretch owed to my modest drawing skills.

Thumbnail sketch for residential area

This is the residential areas of the slum and I was going for three things here: tall buildings emphasizing how the people are really living on the rock bottom of the city as seen in frame 1, 2 and 6, vertical construction as seen in frame 7, and early 1800’s industrialism as seen in frame 8, 4 and partially 5. I accidentally drew a concept for transportation in frame 3 but I left it in the thumbnail anyways.

Thumbnail sketch for market area

As with the finalized concept art images following these thumbnails, I wanted to focus on some general details typical for the cyberpunk theme. In the image above I wanted to highlight the neon signs and advertisements visible on every wall and stand in the slum markets. And as with the concept of the residential area I tried to get a sense of vertical construction, that buildings, homes and other premises have been built on top of another due to lack of space (and freedom).

-Kim Jonsson (technical artist)