I'm going to do a set of 4 pieces each exploring how complex a piece can go before it goes into reverse. This is a personal experiment as the bulk of my work is commissioned commercial illustration.
It's a fine line as you know - go too complex and it becomes one blob, the eye simply don't know where to look - keep it too simple and the viewer isn't draw in deeper.
Also this isn't about making a "pretty" illustration. It's about how far technology and styles can be pushed.
I've made both the construction and composition amazingly deep with 1000's of layers at a stagering physical size (master is 2.6 x 3.6 m @ 350dpi!!!! and layered!!!!!) and then, I've also gone as far on the post production as possible, before the image is again destroyed. This is purely an experement to see how the blend of technogy and creative can mash together. These files exceed 30Gb in photoshop!
It's a hard process as you get to a stage where you can't see elements that have been added and the whole piece falls to pieces so you have to step back and try to progress again... simplify then complex, simplify then more complex...