Outstanding illustrations are filled with creativity, plan well before you start on your draft. Know what you want to convey to your audience through the picture, your ideas, concept, color, worldview. Don't let your illustration become an anatomy drawing from the biology classes, use your unique ideas to draw your viewers attentions.
The inspiration of My World came from an early piece titled Butterfly. Closely studying past works will sometimes give you a new feeling about it, I felt an urge to compose an image which can give a new world to Butterfly, a new definition.
I usually use blue pencils for contouring and drafting out my works, then with 0.5 2B mechanical pencil to finalize the outline and define the finer details before scanning the drawing into the computer and adjusting the contrast in Photoshop. Coloring is done solely in painter.
However, I decided to use a different method, just sketching from scratch in the computer (it was the same for Butterfly). The good point of this is it gives better control over the lineart, shadings and allows adjustments for contrast in different areas. This image's composition is nothing new, just with some personal concepts and style, like the fish and volcano in the glass spheres, mechanical limbs and hair of the girl, and the masked bird etc.
The only software I used for the My World was Painter 6.1. Watercolor was used throughout the process ever since drafting, in this manner the lines' edges will create a very dedicate and subtle touch when coloring because of the mix of hues. Due to the fact that in Painter 6.1 watercolor's only a base layer, I do my coloring only on one as though on paper.