Gather reference material
Reference is a key part of my design process, from the first doodle to the final rendering. Because this concept is essentially a creature-inspired robot, I gather two types of reference material. I study animals for proportion, gesture and stance, and look at hydraulics and robotics to understand how all the mechanical pieces could fit together. I’m not an engineer by any stretch of the imagination, so my goal is to make the functionality of my design look just believable enough to convince most of my target audience.
I generate my thumbnails as line drawings, which enables me to be more efficient and unrestricted. However, when I hit a wall, I resort to experimental art techniques such as photo bashing, 3D modelling or using Photoshop custom brushes. Doing my sketching in Photoshop gives me some extra flexibility that I wouldn’t have on paper. It’s the best of both worlds.