Start with color.
I do this a lot. Over and over. Til its right from the beginning. And yes, the studio stays a mess til this part is done.
(and a bit of a notion of an idea, theme, relation to something earlier done)
Continue with shape and composition.
Work from strong suit to strong suit.
Keep it on the table until it's together enough to put on the wall.
(Where I am now.)
Pin up and look. Keep it up. (still to come)
This pomegranate virgin is in my heart, singing of abundance, life force, generousity of spirit. I am holding her in my heart right now.
What is your process? Where is your strong suit? Do you let yourself start there or try to follow someone else's formula for success. I think your main task as an artist is to discover those gifts, honor them, and let them lead your process. Don't believe other people's formulas. Maybe you try them out to see what works and not, but in the end, just as you stitch together your cloth, you stitch together your way of working. It will be as unique and as personal and as much a part of your "voice" as any other aspect of visual style or content.