The original sketch did not include the characters. I was simply painting scenery for practice. I liked how it turned out, and decided to clean it up and add the bunnies (bunnies make everything better).
Sometimes, that is how my illustrations begin. It is not always a matter of "think of a story first, then draw it." Sometimes it starts with the visuals first; I draw something that I like that looks cool, then I expand upon it. Usually that means adding a character or some action.
I share this because if you are an artist who has trouble creating illustrations that fit the stories in your head, try not starting with a story at all. Draw something you are really good at drawing first, then create your story from there. I find it helps to start from my strengths (e.g. painting scenery) to build my confidence up before deciding what my painting is supposed to be.
Check out the next post for the step-by-step!