As always it starts with a sketch on cheap printer paper. Its low detail and there just to establish the proportions and composition.
It has way too many guidelines and stray pencil marks to use for the painting. It needs to be cleaned up and enlarged on higher quality paper.
Then I use an opaque projector
to project the rough sketch on to watercolour paper.
I use Arches 140lb Watercolor Paper Block, Cold Press. Its over $60 for 20 sheets.
there's cheaper paper to be sure, but this paper holds paint and water without warping better than anything I've ever used.
When that's done I'm left with much cleaner pencil lines on paper suitable for ink and gouache.
It's important to lighten the pencil lines as some of the colour will be semi-transparent when used with water and the lines can show through.
I use PrismaColor Kneaded Rubber
I snap off a piece and roll it into a cylinder. It molds just like silly puddy--its fun!
Then I roll the cylinder lightly over the pencils with the palm of my hand. This lightens without erasing all together.
Now I mask with this.
Just scotch masking tape.
The cheap stuff works just fine and it never tears the Arches paper. (it has been know to tear some of the cheaper bristol board I've used.
Now the piece is ready for ink and paint.
I paint with gouache, generally and though I use many brands, I usually prefer either Winsor & Newton or the Royal Talens Art Creation line.
I begin with the nebula background.
I develop the random cloud look by painting in solid black with heavy water. Then I dip a large glob of colour paint into the wet black and gently swirl it around. the water from the black will distribute the colour around randomly and works well to great a nebula-esque look.
Next I add the red of the shirt while the background paint is still wet. This makes it easier to create the fade by blending the colours with water.
Next, I add all the blacks in Picard's skin tone before working in colour from darkest to light.
The Enterprise D is mostly a sillouette with highlights. I use mostly black with a touch of azule and zinc white to create highlights. windows and lights are added last using dabs of zinc white.
Then it is scanned in.