My preference is to find wood thick enough and wide enough to cut your entire body from one “blank.” There are lots of choices for wood. I do a lot with mahogany (often sapele) but have used everything from poplar, ash, maple, walnut, even cherry. There is a lot of argument on the forums about what is the best “tone wood.” I won’t get into that here, other than to say that with electric guitars, most of the sound is made electronically, IMO. You can spend a lot of money on blanks–more on that later.
Absent a single, wide, thick blank, I’ve made several guitars from glued-up stock. That is, one can take a five- or six-foot length of wood that is 7" or so wide and 3/4" or better thick, cut it into four pieces, plane and face glue two pieces together to make two thicker pieces, then joint and edge glue the two thick pieces to make one thick blank that is wide and long enough to cut a body.
Another consideration of whether or not you want to paint your body or finish it clear. Obviously, if the wood is gonna show, then you would want something nice. A lot of what I do is a sub-body of one type wood (say sapele) with a glued on “top” that is of a more showy variety (quilted or flamed maple is common).
Finally, I think you are wise to make two. With the first, use cheaper quality wood–something that if you mess it up, all you have really lost is time (but not experience and knowledge). For my CNC builds, I typically glue up some 2x6’s and run my jobs to make sure everything is properly machining before sticking a blank of mahogany or similar expensive wood on the table. Once they are cut out, I then make sure all the parts are going to fit and correct or perfect my neck pocket as it relates to my bridge height, etc. Once that’s done, then I can more safely set things up with higher quality material.
Good luck. Let us know if you have other questions.