I’m sure most of us have had the problem of getting into a drawing just to realize that, well, we ran into the side of the page before finishing the main subject. Today – let’s talk about how to never run out of space! 

Tutorial: How to never run out of space on your drawing pape–

Part one of two videos: in this one, we’ll do thumbnails, and the full painting will be in the next video on Saturday!

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Draw a mental “box” around the main subject

Use your hand, pencil, or something else to get a GENERAL measurement around the object – no rulers, but just an overall sense of whether the subject is 2x taller than it is wide, or square, etc.

Draw that shape of box on your sketch lightly in pencil, so you have an inner frame to get the whole thing in.

Then sketch in the BIGGEST shapes into that box. Don’t get lost in any details til the big shape is in place!

Then go bonkers on detail as much as you like.

Perfect for thumbnails especially

One of the complaints on a recent Thread I posted about thumbnails was the amount of TIME it takes to create thumbnails. We want to get into the finished art, not delay that with sketches! Well, this quickie technique meant I could sketch AND paint these rough little thumnails in all of 30 minutes! That time is well spent to avoid lots of problems in the finished painting.

Join in the July 2023 challenge at Artventure!

Little sketches like these qualify – or just create something with a boat. Or fish. Or water. We’re pretty loosey goosey, the rule is just that it’s new mojo! Pop over and get the original photos or post your submission!

Coming Saturday: the full painting!


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencil 9B
  2. Handmade sketchbook, no longer available
  3. Daniel Smith Watercolors

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