Typically, if I were making something based on a photo I would start by laying out the sky, then working my way forward, fusing and stitching the main pieces into place. Then I would go back and add in details and finally I would add whatever decorative stitching and quilting at the end. My village quilt gave me a different idea. For that piece I made all the little houses, including details; then the background and then started assembling the component parts. It occurred to me that I might want to actually break bigger buildings and compositions into component parts to assemble. This helps me see how they are fitting together and how the black stitching and outlining are working and makes it much easier to rework just a portion if it isn't coming together the way I want.
Dome components pinned into place
Foliage and tower
As you can see I am taking a lot of liberties with the photo. In fact I am not working from the photo at all, rather from a very simplified sketch of the photo. That foliage is an idea. It may not work, but it's a component piece so I can ditch it or replace it if I decide before everything gets put together.
I am pinning all the pieces, as I go, to a piece of thin, papery, non-woven interfacing that I drew a grid on, as well as a kind of suggestion of where pieces will go. Eventually all the pieces will be fused to the interfacing and it will be layered into the whole deal and essentially disappear.
Have you ever worked this way? How does it/did it work for you? I am liking the flexibility it gives me.