For this self-promotion piece I went with a circus theme. My initial idea was to have a monster or creature standing behind the ringmaster with only it’s huge feet visible. That didn’t work because you couldn’t tell what you were looking at. Changing it to ape and revealing more of the leg made things clearer. I like the idea that you can only see a part of the ape and it adds to a sense of scale.
As for the style, my inspiration was mostly UPA animation and picture books from the 1950’s. I kept the drawing pretty simple with just enough rendering to show the form. Definitely tried to get away from the painterly look. You can see my development work below.
My first attempt at the ringmaster (right) had him tall and elegant. In fact he looks more like an equestrian sportsman. I wasn’t sure what do with the creature either. I scrapped this version and started again.