Normally, I begin illustrating a book by reading the manuscript and doodling in the margins. Later, I create sketches inspired by the doodles.
But this morning, I found myself approaching Duke/Strayhorn, a picture book to publish with Charlebridge, a bit differently. As I read the manuscript, instead of doodling, I wrote notes in the margins. I wrote down what I was visualizing. Later, I'll doodle based upon my notes. And then after some more extensive research, I'll create final sketches based upon my notes and the doodles.
I have no idea if this is a better way to work, and I really didn't plan it this way. I think as I've grown as a writer, my approach to visuals has changed, too. I'm more of a writing visualizer, if that makes sense. For the better or worse, I have yet to see.
Funny, mixed-up, thing is, when I sit down to write, I often begin with visuals.
Edit to original post: I've just come to realize that I'm not going to be able to proceed with this book until I've seen Tchaikovsky's original Nutcracker Suite. And maybe a few adaptations.