Thought you all might like to see a process of how I make an illustration. My steps aren't always the same, but it shares some of the same foundations I was taught at school. This is all done on a cintiq, but can be applied traditionally as well.
The first step I just loosely doodle in my character and a cloud shape. The concept was already made up in my mind so this was just me scribbling down the idea.
Next, I start cleaning up the drawing and really figuring out the form. I was playing with thick and thin lines a lot since I had the idea of keeping the line drawing until the end, but you'll see I changed my mind (which I tend to do a lot).
Loosely block in some colors, some more shapes for the background and making a decision for negative/positive shapes and detail/simplicity.
At this point I said screw it to the line work and started cleaning up the painting on the character. Also thinking less about a light direction that makes sense, but more about simplifying shadow shapes and light shapes.
During this moment I really changed somethings up. I didn't like the bigger shape language of the character and wanted to push the gesture more. Just by exaggerating the hat and adding the leash helped with the general flow of the character. I also began cleaning up some of the edges in the bg playing with settle brush textures.
I continued to doodle on the bg to balance out with the detail on the character. **NOTE: Usually you want to keep the background loose and focus on your character or focal point. But for my particular illustration, a large portion of the bg was too simple and I felt it needed some visual noise for balance.**
And finally, finished off with a little more noodling on the character. Laid in a texture and added a bit more gradation. Not 100% sure if I'm done, but it's good for now.
Hope you guys enjoyed the write up! There will be some in the future that will tackle on a more rendered look (like what I do at DreamWorks), but the foundations are usually the same.