The process of creating an illustration page will have 5 steps:
2. Rough sketch
3. Transfer to watercolor paper
This first picture is a thumbnail sketch. I keep my thumbnails so rough, no manicure can fix them! (har har) I just want to play around with various compositions before I commit to greater detail in the final drawing. I do all the thumbnails at once before I begin the sketches. This is so that I can see the book as a whole, make sure it flows with problem, climax, solution, and be sure I don't have a lot of redundancy. I even plan color schemes to match the flow of the story, and emotion of the scene.
The second picture is the final sketch. With this particular page, I added all the details and even did a bit of rendering. But I am not sure doing so is helpful. On one hand, it takes a lot of time to add texture and details, which in the end is wasted time because I'm just going to re-draw it on watercolor paper. On the other hand, it lets the client know the kind of quality and detail the end product will have. And if I were a client, I'd be a bit nervous, hoping the new artist I just hired will deliver what I hope she will. I think I might be able to make my sketches looser as the pages continue and the client feels more confident. But we shall see. It is a learning process for me.
Here is the final piece! You may notice the position of the mouse has changed. The author thought the mouse needed a little more personality, and it was a very positive change. I love how it turned out!