Everyone has a different way to work and even to start a new work. There are many valid approaches to beginning work on a new piece all of which will fit the person who is doing the planning and thinking. So, no one way is right or wrong, if the shoe fits wear it!
Let’s think about these different approaches. If you have been working in the arts a long time chances are you are all set in your own style of designing. If you are a newbie, you may still be floundering trying to find what works best for you. This is perfectly ok. Try different approaches and you soon will find the one comfortable for you.
There is a way to begin by just setting out to draw, sketch or paint without previous planning. This is and isn’t spontaneous depending on what your thoughts are as you are doing it. If you want the art work to just “happen” you doodle, draw or paint until something appears. This is a very loose style which works well for some but probably not so much for the person who wants to give things thought before beginning. Again, you do what is good for you.
Then there are the planners, ones who like a plan or scheme and usually follow it to a “T”. Normally these people use think time to premeditate what they want to do. They may have something in mind, they may not. Either way, there is much thought goes into the prep time before ever approaching the paper, canvas, or computer. These folks know where their mind is, they know mentally what they want and prefer to work with a plan.
To get the “picture” there are many approaches to think about. Do you see your work finished, then plot how to get there? Do you see linework only, no color shading or form? Do you see blotches of color only with vague images scattered about? You have to know what you are thinking and seeing in your mind to work this way. It may be too much for someone not used to such meditation to get to an end. This method is planned and calculated, much discipline.
Next time you are plotting a new work, notice what comes to your mind first. It may be none of these above-mentioned images, colors, lines or patterns. Personally, I have had words and phrases preempting a piece of art work. It all depends on where the inspiration comes from and how you process it. This is what makes us artists. It is unpredictable and could be different every time you work. Just go with the flow and don’t question it. Enjoy the revelry on the moment.