The background was interesting to do. Okay, so it's just three bamboo stalks and some leaves. It took me longer to decide what to use for a background than it did to actually draw the one I decided on.
I tried to model the look of the bamboo after Chinese-style ink paintings of the same. Back in college, I took a class in Chinese calligraphy, which included a few lessons on the brush strokes used for making bamboo stalks and leaves. The technique is simple--not easy, but simple.
In fact, it's a style of art almost opposite to my own. I usually take a drawing and keep working at it over and over again until I give up on it and declare it done. The bamboo paintings are a collection of fairly swiftly-made brush strokes, and if you botch any of them, then you either start working on a new picture or cope with the fact that this one isn't going to come out right.
The look doesn't really lend itself to pencils. I tried darkening the bamboo stalks, the way they would be with ink, but I didn't like the result, so I stuck with the outlines instead.
That's all I have to say about that.