In January 2015, I was asked by a safety equipment manufacturer to develop a character to represent their intents and commercial insights. The client sent a cartoony image of a 'fat' santa as an inspirational starter to the project. The basic premise was he had to be a hero. Initial sketches were made of a hero character (refer to WIP), and after showing the client the angle was changed to be a builder with hero aspects. I literally used the same pose, and placed on builder's clothing.
During the research, I found a face that was ideal, in the aspect of looking like a Russian propaganda style turn on the head. This was an Alex Ross image, so I wrote to him and asked if I could do a derivative of it. They instantly said, 'No'. So, I had to redesign the head section to suit the same ideal and need as I saw in the other idea. The client then stated they preferred it looking toward the camera, so after a failed attempt at one pose, I drew the now final face, and rendered it out. In some senses, I feel that the negative response on the original made the whole thing work better.
Also as a point of notice, I wanted to make this a different style. Luckily the Santa image had a starting point, but I liked the idea of making this more immediate and quick. I found a photoshop brush that was (when rendered) like a pint brush; it was in fact a hair brush. I Found the technique very quick and wonderful method of painting, and it has reduced my rendering time by at least 60%. The details below show the close view of this style, which worked out well.
File size: 155Mbs/1.30Gbs (open)
Layers: 37 uncompressed
Dimensions: 7013px x 11424px
Hours (Pencil): 5hrs
Digital rendering: 71hrs