So after some review via sharing with everyone here at dA and elsewhere, and with it almost being Aug, here is the 2016 Edition of my Illustration Checklist. What changes? ONLY TWO! (1) Get peer review and (2) "PRESENTATION".
I should have thought of Presentation earlier, I just realized this while working on something today. Presentation is "How you present your illustration". So perhaps you have all of your art down to a science and everything looks great, but you still need the following: A Good Title, You might need to add some text on the work such as Book Covers, Perhaps copyrights notices and such are required and also can make works look more professional, and of course a SIGNATURE (which I too often forget before sharing).
ILLUSTRATION CHECKLIST (2016 Edition)
1 - Choose Your Subject. A character, an object, landscape scene? Or are you designing something new?
2 - Research. Get photo reference. Look up information and photos on your subject to see if you can find more details and inspiration.
3 - Planning. How much time do you have to spend? How important is this work? Choose a medium and a style appropriate for your schedule and budget.
4 - Design. What is the feeling you want to show? What is the emotion? What will make this work special? Unique?
5 - Composition. Stage Set-up. Camera Angles. Lighting. Who? What? Where? Why? When? Make as many thumbnails as you can, the more the merrier. Then choose the one that works the best.
6 - Sketching. Use perspective, anatomy, and divide the space of the canvas. Think about foreground and background depth. Draw guidelines. Take your time and get the foundation right because everything else will follow.
7 - Values and Groundwork. Sharpen up your sketch with good line work and detail. Start adding values, both for common light and shade and also separate the values for background and foreground.
8 - Basic Color. Start with a simple color palette and fill in colors per area and object as needed.
9 - Advanced Color. Reflective Light, Highlights, Shading, Gradients, Ambient Lighting, Multiple Light Sources, Colored Light.
10 - Finishing. Take a break and don't look at it for a day. Come back with fresh eyes and do touch up work. Flip the canvas or look at the work in a mirror. Add fine detail wherever possible.
11 - Peer Review. Get feedback from as many people as you can both professional and fan based, or even critics. And update as you feel suitable from your feedback.
12 - Presentation. Do you need any text on this work such as title and name? Can you do anything to frame it better or improve the crop size? For character designs and such it is worth the time to add a little background. And don't forget a Signature!!!