I eventually decided to make and sell posters, t-shirts, and stickers as a way to share this project with others (and make a little bit of money on the side).
The process for creating these illustrations started with researching all fifty states: official animals, flags, colors, nicknames, mottos, etc. This information was then taken into account when designing each state.
Some states had multiple official animals, which were then picked based on "majesticness", representation, and redundancy. The whitetail deer is the official state animal of twelve different states, which frankly is unacceptable.