This may turn out to be the most embarrassing post I ever write.
The talented Mr. Dick Krepel once showed our class how he does all of his sketching on loose sheets of scrap paper. That way, if anyone ever decides to publish his sketchbook (and they really really should), he can weed out all the less-than-wonderful drawings with no one the wiser; no ripped out pages to tell the tale. Very clever, Mr. Krepel. Verrrrrrrrry clever.
I, on the other hand, am putting them up on the internet for all the world to see. The final image above is the "good" layout, pieced together from the best scribbles from my sketchbook. Chances are, it will change quite a bit between now and the final product. For one thing, I didn't even draw in the main concept... a flower (or something) which starts the chain reaction when it sprays it's pollen (or...something) into the ear of the front character. Who then passes it along. Color will play a huge part in this piece. Fingers are crossed it'll all work out.
The first thing to go may be those clouds...I'm not sure if they add anything to the final piece, although they do get across the idea of the floating tree-thing. They may interfere with the concept though, clouding things up. So to speak.
My first sketches are almost always loose, light scribbles that don't look like much of anything to anyone who isn't me. It takes me awhile to get warmed up, so I sketch fast. The idea is to work out the concept (which is usually half-formed in my noggin').
The basic composition and proportions come next, drawn small. The tree was a later mutation, maybe a tree of knowledge idea. It started out as a more anthropomorphic character with two faces. At one point it became more feminine, but that seemed a little too obvious. Besides, I've got another concept bouncing around my head that needs a strong feminine figure.
After things start to click, I spend a little more time, trying to nail down expressions, character, and personality.