These are pages from the "Famous Artists Course" by Fred Ludekins. Click to see bigger.
Here, Fred shows some of his thumbnails for an illustration and explains why he rejects his first attempts and how he settled on the composition of the final painting.
Any good storyboard artist will begin a scene by thumbnailing. The right staging is essential to putting across your ideas with the maximum impact. In many cases the staging is inherent to the idea working. If the staging is changed the idea itself will be affected and the meaning of the image will be changed.
Mr. Ludekins makes a good point: many times I find that the best option in staging a scene is the one that allows us to see the face of the character while also putting over the idea clearly. As important as it is to stage the idea clearly, it is also very important to let the audience know how your characters feel about what is happening. That is why an image usually has more impact if it is staged so we can see the character's face. But then again it is possible to get a lot of expression and emotion out of a character when you don't see their face at all. Sometimes body language is more effective than any expression could be.