...you may ever see on this blog, is in this post.
It's taken every ounce of humility I've got to post it, but I wanted to respond to Christina's recent posting about the creative process.
The art above is something I did last week for my daughter's birthday. She asked me to make her a drawing with a unicorn and a hamster, and I immediately bristled at the thought of combining two animals so different in scale. Unfortunately, once you tell your 5-year old she can have whatever she wants for her birthday, you're pretty much stuck (In fact, I think that's how John the Baptist died, but I digress.)
Here's the eponymous sketch:
Most of my art starts with a really awful, but useful thumbnail. (Actually some aren't even useful —just awful.) In this case I couldn't stand to look at it long enough to finish it, but it was enough to tell me the concept was okay, and it stood as a rough guide for the work ahead.
After pulling a few images of horses in steeplechases, I got a more refined sketch. You can see that I'm still making decisions about the placement of the front legs. A lot of my rough sketches have three or more limbs.
One the sketch is scanned, I tear the elements apart in Photoshop and nudge them. It's nice to be able to make these refinements without re-tracing the image. I've always found that something gets lost with every iteration.
In the final image, I've actually superimposed the cleanup over the early sketch.
I don't use this technique much for my commercial work, because it looks too sketchy for most clients, but I like it for personal stuff. My preliminary work almost always hits these stages though, and I keep most of the nicest sketches. (about 10% of the total)