So here's a little step-by-step run-through of how I've been doing the backgrounds for this cartoon... First I do a loose sketch of the scene, sometimes just using the storyboard panel directly.
Then I do a loose color guide in Flash. I didn't do any color guides until this latest cartoon. Before, I would just draw the background and then mess around in Photoshop until I found some color scheme that I liked, but now I'm planning them more carefully in Flash while I can see how the characters fit into them, so that they stand out as much as possible. Although it's an extra step, it ends up taking less time in the long run because I don't have to make as many changes afterwards.
Then I draw the clean linework, and export that from Flash.
Finally I open up Photoshop, paint in all the flat colors from the guide and then start adding gradation, textures and sometimes highlights and shadows if I'm feeling saucy.
Look out for this and many other equally exciting backgrounds in the next Fester Fish cartoon coming soon. You goan love it mo den waffles. And ah KNOW you loves you some waffles.