I am a little late posting the process on this recent World Cup sports section cover, but I hope you enjoy seeing behind the scenes. My art direction was to go for a Russian-vibe with reds and landmarks along with possibly the classic trophy design. Sketches:

#4 was selected with a the suggestion of removing the bear and replacing it with the trophy. I wanted to add in some text elements to push more of a “poster feel,” but that was nixed by the higher powers. They were considering what kit the player should wear, but it was decided to just go with an unaffiliated uniform.

So the final sketch was as seen here:

While I am trying to move my work into a more colorful direction, it is nice to still work in this manner. I think I am finding a better balance of light and dark in my images through a lot of trial and error.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the Day,
Chris