First, I start by outlining the main shapes as a road map of where I'm going. Then I start in on the eyes. This is about 7x10. I usually work pretty large, but since this is such a close up point-of-view, I was able to work smaller.
I'm working in graphite on Duralar, which is cool because it's a transparent support. So I can lay it right over my initial sketch without having to transfer. I get a very smooth look, and can blend easily, but it doesn't erase well. I basically do a full B&W drawing.
This is the final value study. I keep this as an original and print out a high resolution copy onto my final art paper (in this case Stonehenge) to then use as a grisaille or under painting. For this one I printed out a slightly lighter version. The color in then added with Prisma pencils.
For her hair, I start by deciding where I'll need lights and darks. So yellows and creams get layered in the highlights, and reds and browns in the shadows. For the skin tone I start with a light wash of cream, then peach. I layer color using a very sharp point and a very light touch. I'm working from left to right here, so you can see the initial colors on the right side.
Finals layers of color are added to the girl and fish. I used complimentary colors to create depth in her hair. Translation: There's lots of indigo blue in the shadows. The skin tone has probably 20 layers of color. Layering alternately between yellows, pinks, violets, and using darker colors with each layer until I get the depth I want. Time to move on to the fishbowl and tabletop, which are done in the same layering technique.