I start by sketching all the elements of the illustration I think I might need. As you can see I didn't use all the ideas, but I like to start with all the options.
I don't see this as a waste of time as I know I may use the elements in another illustration.
This was the original painting, however when I revisited the image I felt it was too cluttered and the composition not as pleasing as the others.
So I decided to simplify it.
Here you can see I gave this version more sky to allow breathing room. I also dropped the view point to accentuate the overall silhouette of the illustration for maximum impact.
Writing and Illustration to me has been my number one passion ever since I can remember. I feel very fortunate that I get to do it every day.