To plan or not plan is a big topic amongst my art friends. The "spontaneous" crowd claim that preliminary sketches and working drawings kill the creativity in their work, because once they have put their energy into the plan, they are bored and have lost their excitement for making the actual art. I find that thinking hard to understand, but, OK, there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat and I'll give them theirs. For me, I need a plan. Not a detailed, set-in-concrete plan, but first a little tryout sketch to work out the logistics of the composition and some color ideas, then a to-size working drawing.
You can see, above, that I printed my iPad sketch, gridded it, then enlarged it to actual size. I learned this particular technique in a workshop with Elizabeth Barton, and I really like working this way. I used to enlarge my small drawing on the computer and print it out on a million sheets of paper that I taped together. That was one less step, but I have found that the extra work of gridding and hand enlarging the composition helps me simplify and tighten up the composition, plus I am really internalizing the structure this way. When I am ready to start cutting the individual pieces I have a fairly good feeling for how they will go together. But, even so, this big drawing is merely a guide and a lot can change when I start seeing what the fabric brings to it.
I keep most of my big drawings. I have never used one a second time, but if I did I know the resulting piece would not look a lot like the first one. I had an idea today as I was drawing this. Maybe when I finish this one I will make another as a night scene—an homage to Monet and his many versions of the Waterloo Bridge, or Rouen Cathedral! Or maybe I will be done with the basilica in Quito. I don't know, but at least I have a plan.