Even though I do my first color studies in Photoshop, I also do traditional color studies. I have also been experimenting more and more with limited palettes, and a traditional color study helps me reevaluate my color choices. For this piece, I chose to use Payne's Gray, Pthalo Blue (Red Shade), Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, and Titanium White.
I also had been toying with the idea of making a pronounced heart shape with the bird nest, somehow, but I was on the fence about it. However, once the SCBWI February Insight came out and announced that the Illustration Prompt word was "love," I had my answer.