This design was living in my imagination about 3 years before I began to work on it. I felt really stuck for a long time, just generally, which of course was reflected in my not doing much in the studio. About 9 months ago, I signed up for “Illustration Nation” at Sketchbook Skool, which offers terrific online courses for people who want to learn to sketch, or to begin sketching and drawing again. This is one of many courses they offer, all of them inspiring.
Because of the planning and design involved, creating a katazome stencil somewhat like illustration. I felt the workshop would help me bring this idea to life.
To become familiar with my subject, I began sketching bears from photos.
Fun fact: according the Wikipedia, bears are in the family Ursidae (think Big Dipper—Ursa Major). They are "doglike" carnivores, and their closest living relatives are the pinnipeds (such as seals), canids (dog is one example), and musteloids (such as raccoons and weasels).
The next step was to try a few variations for the composition.