I love pushing the boundaries with my illustration work. I start with more conventional sketches as I like to put my characters within a setting. If I am drawing a bird for instance I research their habitat, find out where they nest, and how many eggs they lay.
On the Island we have a huge variety of wildlife to draw inspiration from, birds hares badgers to name a few. These all feature in paintings. I usually use mixed media on hand prepared gessoed board for illustrations. I still build up the paintings with layers of glazing so they still take quite a time to complete.
I often use a proverb, literature or overheard conversation as a starting point for a design.The research stage is usually the longest part of this process as a design is often adapted as I go along. It has to evolve.