I finished a couple of pet portraits for the ATC exchange project. There are 11 of us drawing each others pets and exchanging (ATC size). It is great fun and we get small pictures of our own pets. Some of the participants are doing two for each person. That is what I will try to do. So far I have about 6 done. Two I did in watercolor with no graphite drawing first. I really liked the first one, the second not so much. But I redid it in graphite and am sending both to "Winecountry/Colleen".
Here is the drawing I did of Jody's Sammy. It's my second ATC of Sammy. In the Scavenger Hunt pet portrait thread, I did a close crop of Sammy and sent it to Jody. I love doing ATCs and seeing how much detail I can get in such a little package. Plus I can do crops that are unusual. I just start with whatever part of the animal or scene that appeals to me and "grow" the picture out from there. Whatever fits, that is my crop.
I pretty much do my sketches en plein air the same way. I will start a bit off center with something that catches my eye. Then I start adding things from the scene. I stop when I either feel "finished" or when the time runs out. A lot of the time there is a lot of space around my drawing.
The ladies in the group mentioned that I might do better to make them touch the sides and do a better composition, but that doesn't work for me when en plein air. It works better for me to start with a bit or piece and grow out. That way if I run into something where I am not happy, I can leave and not worry about a "finished" drawing. If they turn out and I like them, I consider them a drawing. If they don't and I consider them practice, they are sketches to me. Most of them stay in my sketchbook. I have one that is strictly used for plein air. I work in a different one for just daily sketching and the scavenger hunts.