This image is a magic card illustration for the set called Eldritch Moon. It is one of my favourite illustrations in a long time.
The art description was very simple: Big zombie body, instead of head there is an additional zombie torso attached. Something like: "you got the body I got the brain"- type of thing.
In the sketching I came up with the idea of giving the brainy guy multiple heads attached. The extra heads is sown into his skull so that he literally has more brain power. The zombies of this setting was all about being stitched together so it kind of suited very well the world. The hands he has stitched to the shoulders was a hint to a general uniform making them look like epaulettes. Again to strengthen the smartness of the top guy. I had no background sketched in because I was going to do a misty shoreline to go with the seagulls, and I did not think I need line art to create that.
I started thinking that the top guys - who I started thinking of being a leader type - should have a staff, so he would resemble a wizard. I gave him yet more arms to hold a staff, thinking I already had more than one head, so extra arms would be the more the merrier. During the drawings of the staff I noticed that the staff would cover and create a difficult tangent with the arms behind from the big guy. The solution became that they hold the staff together. I added a lots of chains and hooks and stuff to make it look more like a weapon that the bottom guy would also use. Now it all came together how the 2 different zombies acted and worked together holding the same tool combining their forces. The area that was previously occupied by the dead bodies need something else. To fit the hook theme I needed something iron and crude and dangerous: I came up with the bear traps and thought that was exactly the kind of shoulder plates a dude like that would wear. He could even ram someone and have the traps spring shut at the same time.
Lastly I drew the heads on the smart zombie´s side to have better interaction with the seagulls. I wanted it to look like he was yelling at the birds: "Hey; get of me you bitches" Spitting and screaming, almost like the head was a different character that had no control over the arms and thus could not wave the birds away. When I nailed the face of the seagull to a squealing face I was super happy. There is a whole little story going on between the side character and the birds.
In the end I got to keep the birds.
When I started painting I skipped the shoreline idea for the background and chose to do a cloudy sky instead. The changes the image had taken was making it too busy for also having figuratively background.