I started out by practicing some lettering and getting my colors right. I looked at a few tutorials online to help get some ideas - this one was particularly helpful.
Here's an in-progress shot, I did the lettering in a mix of blues and greens, and mixed a pale grey for the little whale himself.
And here's the finished illustration, with outlines, background color, and a bit of pinkish-coral highlighting on the letters. All framed ready to be wrapped and mailed!
I love how it came out, and my friend says that she and her husband love it too.