Step #1. The thumbnail sketch.
So after I get an idea to create something I like to draw a lot of squiggly lines, gestures, so that I can loosely come up with an idea for the layout. Since this illustration is a cover for my story about a girl with a messy bed I thought, "This needs to have a girl sitting on a messy bed." Brilliant huh? ;)
Step #2. Character Study
I'm a firm believer in drawing from life. If you sketch from your surroundings you will get a better idea of how anatomy works and what people and things actually look like opposed to what you think they look like. Soapbox aside, I like to draw a lot of drawings (some very ugly drawings) trying to figure out what I want my character to look like. My character Matilda McBean is very stubborn and a sort of Veruca Salt character. You are suppose to not like her. And usually kids are pretty darn cute, so that's a pretty tall order I think.
Step #2. Rough Sketch.
Here's me figuring out the details and making sure the gobbeldy gook in my head makes sense on paper. As you can see here gravity does not exist in this world, so this sketch was thrown out. No Matilda in space for me, thank you very much.
Ah, this is much better. Yay for gravity, and more rotten or broken things.
Step #4 and 5. Value Study & Color Study.
So being that this is a monochromatic illustration, I don't really need to do a value study. This is, however, normally a super necessary step for me because making the values right does not really come naturally for me. So after the value study, I do a color study to make sure that illustration looks good enough to eat. This color study reminds me of a custard filled donut. Yum.
Step #6. Watercolor
Then I paint in watercolor and india ink, which truthfully can be super unforgiving. No mistakes please, and no pressure.
Step #7. Finish in Corel Painter
Then, after I've scanned my piece, I take it into Painter and fix any mistakes I've made, pump up the color with some additional layers in painter, and then I'm done. Yay.