I had a couple people email to ask how I come up with my critters. The answer is, I use a sketchbook. If I don't use the idea now, I will in the future. Or at least a version of it.
Here's how I do it...each person is different. By no means am I an expert on watercolor or painting in general. Yep, that's the disclaimer...
My sketchbooks vary but this one is Pentalic's 6 x 9, 130lb, 'Nature's Sketch'. The size is wonderful, it has 50 sheets, and the price is affordable. You do get what you pay for, the paper doesn't lift watercolor well and it's really more for drawing than wet media. It's thick enough that I can use both sides of the paper, which I do. I like it and the company donates to the American Wildlife Foundation.
I start with a basic sketch in pencil, typically a Staedtler 3B. It's my favorite on this paper because I get the outline I want and it's easy to erase. I typically use either Prismacolor or Generals brands on this paper because it pills so easily.
Since a lot of my critter development is over my morning coffee, I want to keep it quick and sweet. I use Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Artists Ink. Great color, it dries quick, and doubles as a resist.
I don't want to spend the time at this point waiting on a frisket to dry. I use a product by Masquepen, called Fineline. Wonderful but it takes forever to dry. Not really, I'm just not the most patience of artists.
FW inks are not bulletproof...
but they are water resistant and it's enough that it sets a barrier on the paper. If you don't have that, you can use a wax birthday candle, a crayon, or even wax paper with a pen. I've used all of then in a pinch.
Next, I lay down my watercolor. My pref is Daniel Smith with add on's like Blick's Phthalo Blue, Holbien's Crimson Lake, and Winsor & Newton's Indigo.
I use the same colors in my travel palette (above) as I do with my larger palettes. Just more colors. Hey, again, it's just what you get used to.
I use ink for highlights and Mr. Rainbow Bird is done, waiting to be used in the future. Poof...in 20 minutes over coffee and ready to start my day in the studio.
Mr. Rainbow bird might get used in a children's book I want to write. He's rainbow because birds know that birds are birds, no matter what color they are. Birds believe that it takes all kinds to make a backyard village, not just the 'cool' birds. They even realize that the bullies can be stopped by team work.
Tip...work quick, the FW Ink dries quick but the white ink is fabulous with wet watercolor.
Tip...to get extra texture, use a rubber tipped object to draw lines.
Tip...don't worry about perfection, it's a sketchbook.