I use many advanced techniques in Adobe Illustrator to complete this design including complex appearances, styles, and pattern brushes. Organization best practices were very important to my sanity. I practice what I preach to my students.
Pictured above: The outline view of my in-progress Illustrator file. The tail in the top right of the artboard started as a pattern brush and was then expanded for refinement. You can see the source design elements for my pattern brush in the top left of the pasteboard.