Once I've chosen an image to work from it's important to me to familiarise myself with it before starting on a final piece. I usually make multiple preparatory sketches to get myself comfortable. If the piece is to include another element, such as collage or text, I often experiment with this in the initial drawings too.
This is the first sketch I've made to prepare for this piece. I chose the photograph because it shows the face clearly, and I think it is a beautiful picture of my friend. This was a simple sketch done with a pen, but I'd like to try something that also incorporates embroidery before launching into the final piece. I haven't used embroidery within my work for quite a long time, so I'd like to experiment with that.
My style of painting uses much bolder lines than in this drawing, so I might also do a preparatory drawing or painting with bolder, thicker lines. I often begin a painting by creating a simple collage as a background, and I have recently got into laying down blocks of colour. Starting the portrait is less intimidating when there is already something on the canvas. I may also experiment with layering the image with colour blocks before moving onto the final work.