"The Liberator" (sketch)
As always I start with a sketch and work on top. In addition to keeping my references up on the screen, this is my digital process. When I work in illustrator I don't try to shoot for super realism. This is especially true when working with Adobe Illustrator. Less is more.
When I first began working in Illustrator there weren't all of the nice bells and whistles of the newest versions and so I've developed a style that could be achieved with the most basic version of Illustrator. This is not to say that I don't venture out and experiment. Although it's digital it's just like working in any other medium...you've got to take chances or you just won't learn. It often drives me crazy when I see artists who won't take chances or try new techniques. It's one thing if you're an accomplished artist who's tried very techniques and found your style but it's another story if you're just starting out and you're too nervous to venture out. Experiment and Learn.