I used to take a lot of time with this phase. Truth be told, perhaps I was even fearful that I would "wreak" a piece. What I've learned is that the ideas will come once I get started, and that it's best to just trust the process and dive right in.
After coating my piece with color (usually black), I make the first mark, and the rest flows from there. I love how one mark informs the next.
Here are process shots from a commission piece. The collector wanted an "earth and sea" theme for the vessel and let me take it from there. Such fun! I'll post the finished project when it's done.
Interested in commissioning a special piece for your new home, a wedding present or special anniversary? Read more about it here.