It took me a while to come up with this little guy, but the piece went more or less without a hiccup. First mate for Cap'n Gran, mister Maxwell Dubois. (Originally he was named Mister Gibbs. I realized later that was a character in Pirates of the Caribbean, so I wound up naming him after a nickname for the dog he is modeled after.)
You can see in the sketches below that I went through a lot of different ideas for Gran's first mate. A pet cat, her daughter, her mother, her sister... and finally I thought of a dog. Originally he was going to be a weenie dog, but the brown didn't work well and I thought it would be a funny surprise if I made him look like my boyfriend's dog, Max. (Who I looove.)
As you can see, the bird wasn't in the original sketch. I think it was suggested by my thesis instructor, the fantastic Susan Kwas. Other than that, it was a very straightforward illustration. I'd established the colors when I worked on Gran, I didn't change the composition much at all.. pretty easy.