Summation: work from the big picture to the little details, not the other way around. Technically, this is a strategy that's applied to every art subject ever... but I'm writing it down, in steps, for my own memory.
- Step 1: Block in the colors.
I have a major issue with skipping this step. I usually try to get right into the details too quickly. I think that if I don't make it a leaf right away, how else will I know it's a leaf? I'll tell you how: trust this process. Work from the bigger picture to the details, not the other way around.
- Step 2: Add smaller forms.
This is where you form shapes within the big picture - while still making it large and generic. Then little by little, you narrow down and sculpt the color/shapes into an image.
- Step 3: Add the details.
Now is time to refine. Add the texture, add the grass, add the leaves. A useful tip: use a leaf brush as a negative... so you end up forming a leaf by stamping the brush with the surrounding colors instead of using it as the leaf itself. It creates the form without losing the underlying colors and texture. (y)