First I start with a rough figure drawing. It actually starts rougher than this. But this is the earliest saved version I have. In this stage I am trying to get the pose I want, and the general shape of the figure.
After I have decided that I like the shape I try to slowly work in some of the detail, and add a bit of weight to the drawing. Here I have started playing with adding the helmet. I have a really difficult time drawing hats, and helmets.
A big jump here to giving our heroine the rest of her gear, pfd, and her skirt. The helmet is getting more dialed in, and a few lines represent her rash guard and shorts. This is where I start to add details like her face, it takes a bit of experimenting to get the proportions right. I've also started to add a touch of shading, to establish a light source.
My next step is to outline the drawing, this cleans it up, and allows me to give it the slick look I want this piece to have.
I continue now with adding line weight to the outline, and my heavy dark areas.
I have a few kayaks around the house, so I use my new favorite as a reference for this illustration.
After I have completed the drawing to a cleaned up state, I change it into vector art so that I can easily manipulate the colors.
Some of the only restrictions I had with this illustration was I could only use 3 colors, including a background color. Here, I've tried to make three colors seem like more than that. And I've added a touch of shading, to further convey a light source.
Lastly, I add my text. I'm not as strong of a typographer as I am an illustrator. But I'm reasonably happy with the results here. In this stage I also utilize a few geometrical design elements to give the illustration a bit more pop, and more of a complete design feel, instead of just a drawing. I wanted it to convey a 50's pin-up feel. I think I got it pretty good. I hope you've enjoyed seeing this illustration evolve!