Of all the pictures I have ever created, this one has always been my favorite. Shh, don't go telling my other pictures, they'll be all jealous and stuff.
With the exception of the birds — I drew the sketched the entire composition... and then followed the process of converting the sketch to a blue page, inking that, printing out a color fill and then coloring that with colored pencils, and well, a whole bunch of editing... you know, that same paragraph I type up virtually every time I explain how I translated a sketch into an illustration.
Yes, this was once just an outline on a white sheet of paper, before it was an entire production combining a digital scan of a painting, a digital scan of a colorized print-out of my calla lilies, and a digital scan of my drawings of tree swallows. The tree trunks and the leaves were done with photoshop filters - as this picture pre-dated me owning a digital camera (otherwise I surely would have photographed some tree bark).
Anyway, there are 2 things I remember most vividly about this picture.
One is that I re-edited the calla lilies about 3 times, because there was something that I just didn't have right about the outline around them - and actually ended up mostly painting in the outline in photoshop until I was happy with it.
And the other is that the tree swallows were the first set of birds that I simply drew out on bristol - absent of any actual composition, to scan and cut. Back in the olden days - when I created an illustration I drew the entire thing on one sheet of paper by hand... this was really the first time I drew the parts separately and put them together. These were literally the first bird graphics that I meticulously removed from a white background in photoshop.
It's a strange thing to remember - but it's what springs to mind the most when I look at this image - as it was a point in a learning curve.
Anyway, calla lilies & tree swallows has always been one of my favorite illustrations, albeit simply for the visual. It's intricate choreographed chaos.