When I started on my most recent series of musician paintings, I did a few small pieces to start, which i posted a few weeks ago. I also made myself a sketchbook of sorts... not a traditional kind of sketchbook, since I don't really do that, but a small book where I could try out a few different approaches without having to commit a lot of time. I've done this a few times, and it seems to clarify a direction for me, and helps keep things moving when I get stuck. This one I've made from an old kid's board book... in it's past life it was "Winnie the Pooh's Big Book of Opposites". I pick these books up at Goodwill for next to nothing. They are compact and sturdy, and can take a lot of abuse.