Sooo here is a little adventure through my .ai adventure. First, I chose this awesome sweet image of a caterpillar from google (thank you google). I made sure it was a decent size to be sure I could get some good detail.
This is the point where I began using the gradient mesh. It was an awesome discovery, and one that took some time to really understand. Almost all of the work I did initially had to be deleted and re-worked.
After more than 30 years- I mean, hours- came the final piece of work...enjoy.