(At least, no lines allowed in the final. I wouldn't know how to compose without using lines.) I began with the scenery for this particular image. Every artist has his or her own method. If the background and scenery for an image has any complexity, I like to work that out first. It's like creating the stage set.
Then I add the figures. I can easily place them, choreograph them, rearrange them, however I like. As usual, I put each element or figure on a different layer of transparent vellum, making it easy to shift positions. This eliminates the need to re-draw...re-draw...re-draw. As I've said so often, this is exactly the same process one would use with, say, Photoshop on the computer---working in layers. I just happen to prefer creating the layers with a pencil and paper.
After some experimentation, I decided to execute this composition in pencil on vellum---a surface that has a nice tooth for pencil. (Working surfaces being pricey, I did my experimenting on a partially used piece of vellum---the outlines of a lawn chair that you see are from another project.) I also tried a couple of different pencils before settling on a Koh-i-noor Kunstlerqualitat Negro #3, a tool that I have loved for years. (This pencil is no longer manufactured. Fortunately for me, I stocked up on them years ago, and figure I have enough for the rest of my lifetime---and perhaps beyond.)Because this was a relatively new way for me to work, I kept pieces of scratch paper next to me, and experimented frequently with ways to handle various parts of the drawing. A foot coming at you, seen slightly from below, is always tricky for me.
The finished drawing. I decided not to use the checkerboard pattern on the floor that I had originally visualized. Too complicated, it seemed, for the very simple approach that had evolved.
I decided to use the final drawing for one of my promotional postcards, so I drew a little fir twig in the same style for a decoration.
The finished postcard. My experimentation gave me a double return: a new technique that I might use in a future illustration job---and a promotional piece for December.