Once I feel I have a good drawing to work with, I then transfer that to the wood panel with charcoal. and then lightly wipe it off leaving a sort of a shadow that works as a contour drawing (see first pic).
I always start on the cat first, leaving the grain work until the end so I can match value of the the grain to the drawing as it needs it.
I always begin by laying down a base coat of either Cream or Beige over the whole cat except for the spots, which I will cover on my next posting.
As I go along, I will lay down lightly, color that I think Will work on various parts of the cat, making values my most important thing.
Thats how I begin each and every piece on wood, be it animal, or still life.
The first 2 pics will give you a better visual of all of this.
I have not posted for a quite awhile due to illness, so am very glad to get back to colored pencil once again.