Oh, GAWD (I cannot stop saying this after having watched a playthrough of Final Fantasy VII recently). So many of my commentaries start with "I wanted to do this for a long time".
Anyway...I, uh, wanted to do a Calvin and Hobbes picture for a while, but wasn't quite sure of what specifically. Like regular Calvin and Hobbes, one of the alter egos, a more grown-up form as a fighting team thing (this makes more sense in my head)...
I have a little Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goon over my desk at work. I made it out of paper balls and coloured paper clips during one of my many instances of being unoccupied and letting my imagination wander. I just looked at it and evidently settled on basing the picture on that. An alternate idea I was considering was to have Calvin and Hobbes fighting an army of Snow Goons (when I say army, I mean like Dynasty Warriors-like levels of enemies). But it never got past being a basic idea; I didn't really have an actual layout in mind.
Since I always want to adapt fan art to my own style rather than copying the source material, I made the Snow Goon bigger and more threatening for the action scene I was going for. It's mostly in the sticks, which I turned into large branches.
I didn't want to mess with the faces too much though. I could've made it a lot more menacing with like icicle spikes everywhere and sharp teeth and whatever, but I felt that would've been too generic/predictable of an evil monster makeover (or exaggeration, as it's already a monster) of something. I wanted the faces to keep a bit of goofiness in them (mostly in the head on the right), like something that a little kid would imagine.
Hobbes didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. I feel like the thing that held me back the most was the lack of space on the paper. I had to cram his body into that little space that was left after the Snow Goon. So his proportions are not what I intended, and his hind legs don't have that "pounce" look. I wanted to stretch them out more, but then his feet would be cut off and he would like like he's hanging off awkwardly from the side of the paper. So it doesn't look as "powerful" as I wanted.
I wasn't originally going to have his legs posed symmetrically; I was going to have one leg higher up kind of like he was making a desperate, unrefined/uncontrolled leap in the heat of battle. But I kept looking at pictures of tigers jumping and their hind legs were always symmetrical. I didn't want to take out what little tiger feel I had here.
I usually pay close attention to little details when showing an existing scene so that I keep certain aspects accurate, but the clothes Calvin and Hobbes are wearing don't match any single picture. Hobbes doesn't have his scarf for most of this story. I saw one strip where he had it (though it actually disappears after the first panel), but in that strip Calvin is not hatless. So I mean the combination I have here is not in this story, as far as I saw (Gawd, I sound like a nerd). But I really wanted to draw Calvin's hair (not covered by a hat) and Hobbes in his scarf...
I originally had the camera closer to the ground, looking upward from behind Calvin as he ran up one of the branch arms that was slammed into the ground in an attempt to smoosh Calvin. I actually don't remember why I changed it. I may have run into some problem where other things I drew like Hobbes didn't match the angle (and he still doesn't quite match, but it's at least better than before), or maybe I ran out of space to display it properly, or maybe it just wasn't looking convincing so I gave up.
If you're wondering, and you probably are, that thing near the upper-right corner is a crashed toboggan. Whether it was crashed intentionally as an awesome form of attack, or crashed accidentally as an inevitable outcome to another ride is up to you.
It was hard fighting the inclination to use warmer colours in this, as that is what I'm most used to. There were times I struggled to choose shades because it looked weird to me not using my regular colours. But they just wouldn't have fit the cold look I was going for here. I'm glad it got me to try something different from usual, but I was really not liking how the picture was looking as a result. Actually, even without the colour issue, it wasn't looking that appealing.
It wasn't until near the end that it started to come together and I was more satisfied with it.
The end is where I started putting the snow effects on and the overall blue theme across the entire image. That's when it finally looked like winter to me, instead of just weird bluish colour choices here and there on an otherwise "normal" picture.
It took me a while to find a good falling snow look since I don't do effects often, and it took me a while to find a convincing snow/frost-on-the-characters look. I'm really happy with how it came out though. I was wondering a bit if it's perhaps too much but I felt that with less, the characters look kind of out of place or pasted in or something. It didn't look as wintery as I wanted. With the snow effects, I think it looks more like they're in that environment.