Okay first is the sketch, the prompt I got for the card was for a slightly crazy middle aged man working on an unruly steampunk machine. I did this quick sketch in my sketchbook and off it went to get approval. For some reason when I am sketching I freeze up when I try to draw within the confines of a box/layout, so although I am thinking and know the general dimensions I like to sketch something on a wide open page and then later size it and fit it into the dimensions of the page layout (which is what the black box is)
After getting approval from the AD it is off to shoot some reference, I am cheap and do not want to hire models and because I know the expressions, look, and feel that I want for the character I usually find it easier to pose myself. I set up some lights, put my camera on a tripod and have a remote timer in one hand and start snapping some photos. Having good reference to work from is super important and this was one of the reasons the painting came along so easy, I had a good foundation to start from. DO NOT skimp on the reference!
My next step is usually looking at all of the reference photos and picking out the elements I like best and combine them together, for instance a head from one photo, a body from another, favorite hands and then combining them into one image. I merge them together and do a loose outline to help nail my proportions and get the hands and face right so I have a good base while painting. Because I like to merge layers semi often the drawing got merged down and painted over during the course of painting but you get the idea.
Here you can see me slowly building up the figure, I keep certain elements on separate layers, especially if I am not sure if I am going to keep them or change them. I have individual layers for the stripes on the shirt and the tools incase I want to make changes.
Mike Burns gave me a helpful paintover and showed me some places where the painting could be improved on and made better. I went back and added those things and sent this off to my Art Director.
I hope that this was in some ways helpful, I think in the future I will have to plan these step by steps out from the beginning so you can see a better more linear progression of the painting than a series of rapid jumps. thanks for reading