I'm a beginner, so I don't expect to create a competing illustration in the next week. However, I thought it would be good practice work through the design process. And since I'm working through the Composition class, I tried some thumbnails. Feedback is welcome.
I started with the idea of a rabbit playing the harp. I wanted to set this in a forest at night. In #1, the tree is home to a little fairy, and a spider has dropped down; I felt the spider might not fit. In #2, I have music coming out of the harp and wanted to show this. That led to #3 where I was trying to arrange the rabbit, harp and tree with a door.
In #4 I gave up the door and went with a cat on the branch.
#5 brought a fairy dangling from the music, with an owl watching from the tree. I liked the owl better than the fairy, and also liked the hanging-on-music, so #7 added some mice to be the music notes.
Now I added some mice falling off, and perhaps not aware the music is taking them to the owl — except for that one mouse below, in #8. I like that I've got a little story here!
#9 is very similar, but trying to refine the spacing of the trunk and lowering the leaves. #10 is a small grid of thirds to review the composition.
Overall, I like #8 the best; with slight refinement according to tiny #10.
Feedback on my thumbnails or design process is welcome. Thanks for looking!