I've been fortunate to work with some really great people and on some really fun projects.
Each has had their own unique challenges and requirements but all of them have been enjoyable pushing my work in new and unexpected directions.
Each new project is very much it's own adventure. If the illustration accompanies a story or poem I read the work at least a couple of times first.
I like to print out the story and underline or highlight certain passages that would make interesting visuals. If those design elements make it in the final image it adds another dimension to the work.
Designs are then roughed out in loose sketches on paper. There are usually several designs being developed. The finished work might be a combination of them or its own thing.
Because the person who commissioned the piece may suggest changes or adding an element, the process is still very much a collaboration. This can be both fun and challenging.
When the work is complete, and if I have time, I like to leave the work alone and out of sight for a few days. I then return to it with a harsh, critical eye and if the result still looks good and nothing jumps out at me last minute needed attention I send it off.
There is nothing more thrilling for me to see something I created published in print or digital.