I write science fiction, and read plenty of it too. My favorite places are always alternate worlds or timelines. I love the idea of there being many versions of something, whether it be the universe or a single being.
As an illustrator, I create one portrait first and foremost. However, I always take time to play with the concept before deciding on how the final should look. Even once I have a finished piece, I’ll try different effects on it to see what happens.
This is the fantastic part of digital art over traditional (not that I don’t love to play with real paint and ink too)—not just the undo button but the vast array of color-play, texture, filters, and brushes that can be tested on a design.
Experimentation and exploration. It makes work fun.