For my illustration portfolio class we were assigned a "children's book" piece. We could choose any story we wanted - or even make up our own - as long as the final illustration would appeal to kids and was generally friendly. It took me a day or two to decide ducks would be the perfect subject for me. I LOVE DUCKS! And my portfolio doesn't have any yet - well, now it does! I ended up using "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey as my inspiration. His book has 8 ducklings - but my illustration has just 5 little guys.
This piece went through a lot of transformation from start to finish. From the start, I knew I wanted to create a contrast between hand drawn (what ended up in the background) and clean sweeping curves with tight edges. My original sketches had a lot more detail and frilly unnecessary line - which I ended up eliminating. Well - replacing with textures and color variation.