Rustling like autumn leaves - the step-by-step process

Today I would like to share with you the step-by-step process of a hand lettered illustration I just finished. 'Rustling like autumn leaves' is the first illustration of a new series I'm working on. 

Step 1: 
First I picked the phrase I wanted to use.  
This might sound like the easy part, but I'm very peculiar and picky about the phrases and words I want to use and illustrate, and it usually takes me quite some time to figure out the exact words or phrase I want to draw. I really only want to illustrate phrases that really mean something to me on a personal level, and it shouldn't be too long or too short. 
When I can't decide on a phrase just jet in this phase I usually pick a theme. 

Step 2: 
After writing down the phrase and theme I picked, I wrote down all words related to the theme and things I think of when imagining these words. At this moment I knew I wanted to illustrate handlettered words about autumn, but I still wasn't sure about the exact phrase... after associating with the words for a while I decided 'Rustling like autumn leaves' had the sound and feel and look that I liked for this illustration. 

Step 3:
Time to start sketching!  I usually make a lot of sketches in which I try different compositions, different lettering style and sizes and vary with the images around the letters. 
I use a simple HB-pencil, plain white paper and a staedtler eraser in this phase. 

Step 4:
After deciding about the composition, the style of lettering and the general look and feel of the illustration it's time to make a rough sketch.

Step 5:
Time to refine my rough sketch, by tracing it onto a new piece of paper. I use my window as a light box, which is ideal for tracing!

Step 6:
At this point I trace the pencil drawing with a fiber tip pen. I always use the 0.1 fiber tip pens from Faber Castell, which I love. They are definitely my favorite drawing pens. 
After tracing the illustration I erase  the pencil and scan it into my computer. 

Step 7:
Time to decide on the color palette and to play with different backgrounds and gradients.  I wanted to use typical autumn colors like rich orange and warm red and decide on using a minty green as a complementary color. It takes a while to experiment with the colors to find the right balance in the illustration. Quite often I make three or four illustrations in different colors, and decide later which one I like best. 

Step 8:
After coloring in the illustration I add some extra details, like shadows, some extra swirls and decorative leaves for that final touch.

And there we are, it's finished!
Do you have a step-by-step process you use when working on a project? Let me know in the comments, I love to talk about this and find it inspiring to read about the way other people work and draw!