Pollinators:
I had a hard time deciding what subjects to render because there are so many interesting plants and pollinators to choose from. I narrowed it down to a bird and a butterfly which I then narrowed down to a Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris. I found out that both pollinate the Scarlet beebalm, Monarda didyma, which I find to be a beautiful and vibrant plant. I felt that the colors of the subjects would work nicely together.
After determining what I wanted to illustrate, I had to decide how I wanted them to look in the image together.  I researched many images of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Pipevine Swallowtails to get an idea of what position I might want them in. I wanted some action and I also wanted the image to be dynamic. Although butterflies look interesting when in flight, I realized you could see more of the butterfly’s identifying characteristics while it was resting on a flower. I chose the angle in order to show off part of both sides of its wings. The hummingbird’s position was inspired by a window hummingbird feeder near my desk. I have watched hummmingbirds rush up to the feeder and then stop, back up and fly away because they realized how close I was to them once they got to the feeder. I imagine that a similar situation could occur if a hummingbird was flying toward a particular flower only to be surprised that the flower was already occupied. After which, I imagine the hummingbird would fly off to another source of food. After many sketches I came up with a rough idea of how I wanted my subjects to interact. 
I decided to render this piece in Adobe Photoshop. I first sketched the images in Adobe Illustrator and then painted them in Photoshop. I used different paintbrushes at a variety of opacities and sizes to create texture and some masks to help with sharp edges. 
Lastly I added the background and altered the images (erasing some edges a little and adding some of the background color with highlights) to create a harmonized look. I also added a scan of acrylic painted on masonite to give the background of the image more texture. Lastly, I added a little bit of noise and a photo filter to give it more consitency.
Final Image:

Each element of the final image was rendered separately and then some alterations were made to them once added to the background.

In process screen shots of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird:

Scarlet Pollinators

Scarlet Pollinators
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close up shot of final image:
Scarlet Pollinators

In process screen shots of the Pipevine swallowtail:
Scarlet Pollinators
Scarlet Pollinators
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Scarlet Pollinators

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close up shot of final image:
Scarlet Pollinators

In process screen shots of the Scarlet beebalm:
Scarlet Pollinators
Scarlet Pollinators

Scarlet Pollinators

Scarlet Pollinators

Scarlet Pollinators

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Scarlet Pollinators

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Scarlet Pollinators

close up of final image:

Scarlet Pollinators