I started with a bunch of thumbnail sketches like this one. This is going to be a book cover, so I had to plan on some white space at the top and bottom for the text. Pretty pathetic drawing, no? These quick sketches are just to start placing elements, thinking about what goes where, not trying to solve any of the drawing problems, just working on the composition. The whole stack of thumbnails were as unresolved as this, but they helped me decide what I wanted where.
Here's the "finished" drawing on the block. Before I start cutting the block I need to solve all of the perspective problems, and have a good sense of where my lights and darks are going to go. I don't actually resolve the drawing itself, as cutting with the gouge is quite a different visual language than what you get with the pencil. The "drawing" actually happens while I'm cutting the block, making decisions about line direction and weight.
And here's the block, that I just finished cutting about five minutes ago. The finished print will be reversed, but you get a sense here of the translation from pencil to gouge. You never know what it'll look like until ink hits paper, though. Will it stay or will it go? Stay tuned. . .