I was asked to do an image for a story about how the show has left a mark on television. I did several takes on the characters and the art director went with this image in the end. More of a conceptual take, with the smoke turning into blood, a nod to the violent nature of the show and the thoughts in Tony's head. I thought the idea went well with the show's psychology angle.
This is kind of a variation on the whole blood and smoke thing I did for a Book Review cover recently. Sometimes I land on a theme and end up doing several variations on it for different assignments. Ad Macauley mentioned on another thread how it seems like I'm doing these two things now, straight drawing, somewhat atmospheric, and more of a graphic and conceptual flat color approach. You can see both of those takes in the sketches for this assignment. Sometimes I send all sorts of different things in the sketches and see where it goes when people look at it.
The line and atmospheric work started just from drawing in my sketchbook. I think the graphic work goes back to my interest in posters which started when I was a kid in Cuba. There were a lot of political and film posters everywhere back then, most of them silkscreened. I really love that graphic approach to certain problems, it's probably why I've ended up being a designer and art director as well as an illustrator.
Stephen Kroninger has a wonderful gallery of links to poster websites. One of them is a site with a collection of Cuban film posters, the kind that I used to see all the time when I lived there. They're wonderful, you can check them out here. Those posters have always inspired me. My family likes to joke that if I still lived in Cuba now, I would probably be doing posters for the government!