I'm going to set out a project that you can try and this will take you from layout to finished product in a couple of weeks time. I am hoping that I can devote every at least one day a week to a quick update on the next steps.
Today, we do layout.
Get your materials out. You need a pencil, t square, ruler, eraser and paper.
Since this is a practice, use good quality materials to practice, but you don't need to get velum or pigments at this point. A good quality bristol board paper, a mechanical pencil and a t square will do.
This should be the first step to every single piece you ever do.
Lay out your paper on a flat surface. I use a Koh-I-Noor portable drawing board. It has its own detachable t-square. A flat table is perfectly fine, the kitchen table, or a desk. If you have a drawing table that is nice too.
Step One: Measure 1 inch in on all sides. If you are just using a ruler, make two marks so that you can draw a straight line between them. Using the t-square makes sure that you will have square corners and not be crooked, that's why I recommend one.
Step Two: Take the t-square and draw a straight line 1 inch in on all four sides. See below. You can make a larger border, but the 1 inch is a minimum. The interior of this border is where your art will be placed.
Step Four: I measure how wide the leaves are to leave enough room for them, and how wide the initial letter is. In this case, the floral decoration is 1 inch wide.
Step Five: I mark 1 inch from the left margin for the floral design and draw a 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch box for my initial letter. Sorry for the blur, sometimes the photography escapes me. But I think you can see the idea.
You have some options and they are all acceptable. You can use a light box to trace the design, tape the original to a window on a sunny day and trace the design, or you can free hand the design. You should do whatever option you are comfortable with. Once you have had quite a bit of practice, familiarity and confidence, you will find that you can free hand future designs but no one is going to give you a hard time when you are beginning if you use tools to assist you in learning. If anyone does - just send them to Nataliia. :-)
Next time we will start with this design and start inking and painting.