Step One: ALWAYS begin with a pencil and paper! This initial rough sketch shows how I'm trying to figure out how Otto the Owl should be holding a pencil and a paint brush.
Step Two: Clean up the sketch to prepare for digitization.
Step Three: Digitize and perfect the illustration in Illustrator. Still black and white at this point to be certain the image works at that level before proceeding to colorize.
Step Four: Back to pencil again! Draw a rough storyboard of how the animation should flow.
Step Five: Create an animatic to see the flow mentioned in step four actually in motion, making sure it feels right. If not, adjust accordingly prior to full animation. Again, still black and white at this point.
Step Six: Create full animation with color (and sound if it calls for it). In this case, I used After Effects to create this fun little animation of Otto the Owl. You Otto try it, too!
Step Seven: Publish! Don't hold back. Even if you're afraid your creation isn't ready for the world, publish!