My girlfriend, Krista, and I are watching the first season of "Slings and Arrows" for the first time (we're enjoying it immensely) and I was inspired to look for something Shakespearean to cleanse the palette of all the recent sports paintings. I first thought all I had was this painting but then remembered the Toronto Fringe Festival from a couple years ago. This illustration appeared on posters and t-shirts as well.
My concept was obviously an homage to the classic EC Comics covers from the mid-century. This was probably because I was working on my own comic book at the time (Weak Species), and had comics on my mind all the time.
A rundown of the "mysterious" characters: that's me in the fez/monocle/moustache combo; Krista is in the big hat; one of Krista's sock puppets from her same-socks puppet opera, "The Perfect Match"); and me modelling as the bard for the main illustration. The sock became so popular that I did additional illustrations for the program and flyers featuring a menagerie of other sock puppets...and someone even created a "Socky" doll that appeared at various venues during the festival (which was "kidnapped" at some point, if I remember correctly). I'll see if I can scrounge up those other illustrations...
The characters were drawn and inked by hand, then scanned, then coloured in Photoshop. The layout, circles & boxes, and the text (including the word balloons) were done in CorelDraw.