You read a lot about the value of thumbnails. It took a long time before I really started to appreciate the utility of thumb nailing. When you do small drawings to work out the idea that is bouncing around in your brain, you free yourself of the constraints of actually doing what you consider to be a good drawing. Letting those concerns go often allows your creativity to flow and you wind up with something better than you would have if you’d just started drawing a larger piece that you hadn’t worked through in your mind yet.
The thumbnail of the swordsman in the pic is a great example of that. It turned out better than I expected because I didn’t have any expectations. If you work on an idea and let yourself plow through twenty or thirty of these exercises, which really only takes a few minutes, you’ll be much better off when you start to design your finished piece.