It all starts with a sketch. Sometimes, I hold onto sketches for a really long time before revisiting them and making them into something more finalized. Here are some process photos of my 8"x10" letterpress print, To Have and to Hold.
I usually scan the rough sketch and open it in Adobe Illustrator without doing much touching up. I feel more comfortable tweaking the sketch on the computer with my Wacom tablet and stylus. (Don't even ask me to use a mouse, I am horrible at it!) Once I am happy with an illustration, I send it out to have polymer plates made. A few days later, I receive the plates and voila! Everything is pretty easy after that, as long as the Vandercook is running smoothly.
I have to run each color separately and each color is a different plate. On this particular limited edition print, I used Crane's Lettra. I love printing on Cranes! It's like butter. I have been riding a creative wave lately of producing lots of limited edition prints and now I need to get back into greeting card designing. The most important step for me is still the sketching part and I need to do more of it.