I always really love seeing process posts of other artists, so I thought I'd start documenting my process a little more. First, I do a lot of research online and collect reference images. Then I do a preliminary sketch, translating the object into my own visual language of drawing:
After I work out the initial sketch (and usually thumbnail out a tiny composition sketch at the top of this sketch), I'll lay tracing paper over it and refine the sketch until I'm happy with it (this one below is the second revision sketch):
Then I'll take this sketch and transfer it onto bristol board with transfer paper, and start painting from there. Sometimes I'll use a lightbox instead, depending on the piece. Transfer paper leaves a blue or grey mark that can be hard to cover up, depending on what medium you use. I used gouache, which is an opaque medium, for this piece so I didn't worry about it.
Sidenote: often before painting, I'll scan this refined sketch and do a quick photoshop color comp (which will save you a TON of time and expensive paint) but for this piece, I had a pretty straightforward idea of what I wanted to do with color so I skipped it.
I painted the gold dots and peony pattern on two separate boards, then scanned and combined them in Photoshop. After I got a design I was happy with, I used this method for making a repeat pattern.
Feel free to use this pattern for personal use, such as your desktop wallpaper or twitter background. Download the repeatable version: