Think about the parts of a feather design. First, there is a stem from which the feather "grows." Then there is the feather itself--what shape will yours be? You want it to "grow" naturally from the stem---flow out and around to form a beautifully rounded loop and organically flow back into the stem. See figure 1.
Yes, I do draw them out and practice all the time. I try different ways of filling up spaces and try different types of curls and branches. See...
|Port of Cassis by Lenore Crawford|
And this is what happens when you walk into Hancock's of Paducah for the first time.
Keep that pencil and paper handy for doodling feathers.