I had intended to post my tribute portrait of the legendary Studs Terkel in a more timely manner (Studs died on Halloween), but was held up by an actual paid assignment (I was just as surprised as you are). Then, thanks to poor planning on my part, I got caught up in the trance-inducing patterns of Terkel's trademark shirt and hat, which I wound up having to produce pixel by pixel over the course of two days.
Software-savvy illustrators often ridicule me when I reveal this secret: I do the bulk of my digital work in MS Paint. That's right, the built-in paint program your two-year-old uses to make color squiggles, that's what I'm working with. I started working this way when I first got the computer and never stopped. I tweak the image here and there in Photoshop at the final stage, but I've never been able to get the level of control in PS that I have in Paint.
But that means that I have to manipulate my scanned line art by hand/mouse, filling in most of the lines with color so they'll dissappear into basic shapes. It sounds crazy, but I hate working in layers (as with Adobe Illustrator) and the process usually goes by quickly.
Usually. Unless that quick 'n easy trick I was going to use for Studs' shirt doesn't look right, and my only recourse is to go back in and salvage the pattern a centimeter at a time.
Serious cramps in my back and mouse hand. But I'm sure a friend of the working man like Studs would appreciate what I went through.