I spent about a month digging deep into Zbrush. There are a few channels on youtube that really pushed me into it and allowed me to get very comfortable with the interface.
In the past while using Zbrush, I would not ever feel the flow like in other art programs. Finally, with updates to the program that allow me to use the space navigator and with building custom interfaces, I can really let go and create.
Zbrush now built in the ability to project a sculpt as a bas relief. I found that the settings for the base projection method a bit unsatisfying. However, you can also create an alpha of the bas relief with much more control over what it will eventually give you. I sculpted a full tree and made a brush for the maple leaves. Then I set up the camera view so that the alpha for the tree was in the correct orientation.
I created the sun as a backdrop to the tree. Made a 3d bonsai pot and projected that alpha to the board as well. This got me into using the geometry editing capabilities of Zbrush that I have not used previously. The Koi in the sculpture are from my previous project where I printed Koi for the Avatar pond scene. I just changed them a bit to work in this project. Created some lily pads and Rocks for the roots of the tree to grow over. The moon is the same size as the sun. I used a smaller inset circle to do a boolean operation and remove the inner part for a crescent shape. Added some craters to it using a terrain brush to give it the moon surface features. The bottom right corner is thinner than the reset and is framed by some rocks to make it seem like the pond is flowing out of the bottom right. The lily pads there are above some gravel I spread throughout the section.
I decided that the rocks were good enough for the bonsai to sit in instead of the pot itself.
I decided to try and make a panel that is my take on a Japanese style painting. It has a moon, sun, bonsai tree and a pond. All flattened into an odd perspective. Then I carved it using my CNC into walnut that I glued up. I also made a mixture of bees wax and mineral oil to polish and protect it. That finish seems to darken the walnut drastically. I love the look.