It's not cheating. It's prudent.
Actually it's just a practice piece the I painted up. But I think the jest is fun.
Making a prototype of something new can answer many a question before you try to sell item one.
workers spend money on foolish things every year. Why? We see it on the web in a video or the catalog and realize that it is the solution to a problem we do not have. So out flashes the credit card, and next week we are looking for storage space for the new item.
Don't be in a hurry. Take a break and regard your work.
Most of what I do is obsolete; historical affectations. Wooden spoons and bowls? Quarterboards for sloops and schooners? Carved eagles for transoms? All joyously obsolete. And that's the point.
Like most carvers of my age, I laid out and drew lettering by hand when I started. I despised manual layout.
Periodically carving becomes a fad and not a cheap one.
A funny thing happens as you develop a collection of books on your interests: your browsing habits change, and you begin looking to fill holes in your collection.
For about six years, I made an annual pilgrimage from Massachusetts to Maine to teach marine carving at the WoodenBoat School.