My method is to draw a light pencil outline on the cotton and stitch the basic shaping. I will then either carry on with the stitch drawing and then add paint, or add paint and go back in to stitch further. It doesn't really matter. Sometimes it seems finished but just needs a bit more shading.
We were in Brittany in August and I have some good photos of buildings and bits of buildings which took my eye. I am finding that it is necessary to have good contrast if you are going to work from photos, but I usually use a mixture of a photo and drawing to make it how I would like it. A series seems to be coming along.
I have decided to mount them on wooden frames.
Not yet finished the mounting, but will post when I have!