His appliqué process is quite extensive, and he would suggest starting with a simple image for your first project. Remember, you will not finish the project in the time you have together, but you will be able to make a good start and you'll have the information you need to continue on. He generally stresses choosing a subject matter that you really like, as you'll be working on the project for awhile. PLEASE NOTE! He does not have much experience with human portraiture. He would not recommend this technique for those wishing to do such a quilt. There are a lot of other teachers in the quilt world who do "faces" and he would recommend you enroll in one of their workshops instead.
Check the Image Suggestions on David's website.
David's process requires a full-size pattern to work from. After he has chosen an image, he prints it out on his home printer in "tiles" and then tapes the pages together. You can also visit your local copy center and have the image printed out on large format paper. This can run a few dollars per foot. A black-and-white enlargement is fine, as long as you have a good, letter-size color printout for color reference when choosing fabric. Please do not have your image "Posterized" for this class.
After the enlargement is complete, he covers the entire image with Canson tracing paper. Canson, in my opinion, is the best tracing paper available. You can find it in large and small pads at most craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. It is also available on the internet. For pads in various sizes, visit: Dick Blick.com. One of his workshop attendees sent him a link to buy it in 36" rolls! This is how he buys it now, it's perfect!
Check the Enlarging Your Image section on David's website.
Check the Choosing Your Fabrics section of the website for images of fabrics from David's stash that are good examples of what he likes to use. David loves hand-dyed fabrics (from other fabric artists, as he does not dye his own!) and prints that have no obvious repeat! Look for "crusty" fabrics (as he likes to call them) - ones that have a lot of detail and color variety in them. He also loves hand-marbled fabrics, and uses them in almost every quilt he's made. He does use a lot batiks, but he finds them a little tougher to get a needle through with hand applique. As he has stated, he likes to use simple images and then let the fabrics do all of the hard work. He actually used a leaf print as part of "Maynard's" ear.
There are some fabrics that are not recommended for this project. Although he has many quilting friends who believe you can use any fabric in your stash for an art quilt, he would try to avoid prints with an obvious pattern, stripes, plaids or those with flat, solid colors. Some examples are shown on the website.
If you would like to attend the workshop to learn the entire process, but don't have your own image yet, you can follow along with one of these simple appliqué kits ($30). He uses these kits in his single-day workshop, "It's Pointless! Appliqué." The kit contains a pattern, tracing paper, freezer paper and all the fabrics you'll need to complete the adorable hummingbird or penguin quilt block (22" x 18").
Here is the supply list, at the bottom of the page.