Pen and paper
For my retro characters I start with paper and pencil, or rather a Pentel FP10. I like the line work approach because you’re talking shapes and forms directly. Once I find an idea that I think will work, I’ll do some more sketches in Photoshop. From now on I’ll keep the creative process in Photoshop, which makes it easy to carry out tweaks and edits to my concepts.
Now let’s go back to the 80s! Although I’m a product of that era myself, I do some research. I like tracking down my references, but prefer to not have them beside when I start drawing, so I can develop my own ideas. Once my characters are blocked in I start painting in black and white, which enables me to focus on volume, values, light, shadows and bounce light.