I always start the illustration process with some fast thumbnail sketches. The goal is to come up with as wide a variety of compositions as possible. Then I do a second round of rough sketches where I begin to refine the elements included, as well as the composition itself. I find I can save time by solving a lot of problems in these first two stages before I get too deep in the process.
I liked the idea of the viewer seeing the main character coming right at them. This way you'd be able to see her face–which I think further helps to engage the viewer–and I love the simple shape of the Vespa in the head-on pose as well. You can see the seed for this idea in the tiny bottom right thumbnail sketch above, and played out into a more refined sketch below.
After the client reviewed the first proof, they wanted me to play up the “holiday” concept because the dinner will be put on in December. A friend of mine suggested that we add lights to the palm tree, much like you see in Corona's familiar TV spots during the holidays. What you see below is the approved poster version.
Sometimes I like to do an alternate version for myself. Since I love the vintage and nostalgic look of Vespas and have a trip to Italy on my bucket list, I decided to do a version for my office. This one will be printed on canvas at 24 x 36 inches and hang in my studio.