Some artists call this a “Notan” which means a value study. I have always called it a “Thumbnail Sketch.” As an illustrator, I would do dozens of these little 3 x 5 value studies to try to perfect my composition and develop a strong design. This is still very effective for landscape painters. This is where I let my imagination step in, and see what comes out. If my thumbnail sketch works, my painting will work too.

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