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3 simple steps to create your first illustration

Always wanted to create an illustration but didn't know where to start? Here's how I go about it...

Illustrations are a great way to depict your thoughts, dreams or social messages. I always struggled to start creating an illustration coz I wasn't sure how to go about it. When I searched online, most articles and videos only talked about the technique or about the artist or vaguely hinted at "listening to your inner mind". But how do I really know what I'm listening for? Where do I start? What is it that needs to be done?

Here's what I did to create something from the heart. You'll be able to make wonders if you know the answer to these 3 simple questions - what, how and where.

That's it? Is that all you have to do? Yes, that's exactly right. For example, let me explain in detail how I came up with my "Elly's summer plan" illustration.

I tried Posca markers for the first time, coz I love the bright colour palette. Painting on a canvas excites me more than anything else. Isn't my Elly beautiful and happy in her own world? :)

Ready for the exercise? Let's do it together. Take a pen and paper to write the responses for the following 3 questions.

Answer to "What": It can be anything, say like, what is your favourite food? or what did you eat today? or what is your plan for today?

Eg: What is my favourite animal?

The elephant is my favourite animal. I love watching them in a video or in temples or in a zoo.

Answer to "How": Now relate to the previous question and figure out the how. Like, how to eat your food? or how to place the food? or how are you doing your tasks for today? I'm sure you are already forming a mental picture. Just one more step to go.

Eg: How do I wanna see the elephant?

I picture an elephant eating something. Even in a zoo, they either eat or drink or bathe. I have also been to a wildlife safari, where I enjoyed seeing a mother and a baby elephant eating.

Answer to "Where": Now you can imagine more things than before since you have a clear view on what you are interested in. So let's get to the last stage where your idea takes shape and you can start creating the artwork. Think about where you wanna eat your food? or where are you gonna do the task?

Eg: Where is the elephant drinking?

I visualized my elephant sipping a refreshing lemonade and relaxing under a tree. Then I remembered elephants nod their head while eating. That's similar to how we shake our head while listening to a song. What better way to enjoy a cool drink than listening to a fun song. So, I added headphones to her. And yes, I want her to wear a flower tiara like a queen.

Have you figured out your what, how and where? Is your mental picture ready? Now it's time to start creating and bring your idea to life. Choose your favourite medium - pen, pencil or paint and get creating!

Bonus tip: "Where" gives you the big picture of the illustration. You can form the frame for your artwork and accordingly add different elements that make up the scene by answering this question.

Is your art ready? I would love to see what you have created. Do share it on Instagram and tag me @huesofsush, I will re-share your artwork on my stories. Or feel free to mail me your artwork at

Would you like to watch a time-lapse video on how I created Elly's Summer plan in Procreate? Click here!

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