I've enjoyed a daily drawing practice for many years now. I keep a journal that includes observation studies, practice with different pens, brushes, etc., from both digital and traditional sketchbooks, all collected on instagram over recent years. It's a valuable regimen for me, and definitely something I feel if it's missing as the close of the day draws near.
So getting a call to take an observational/sketchbook approach to an editorial assignment was a nice collision of worlds. The assignment came from AD David Zamdmer at Maxim. The feature was about Major James Capers, who has been repeatedly passed over for the Medal of Honor despite exceptional service and many commendations during the Vietnam War.
The composition sketches above went through a number of iterations as the direction shifted from a darker jungle composition to a more open clearing framing the figures. The final piece was executed in the spirit of observational field sketches from a host of reference and documentary research, and drawn using a combination of Kyle Webster's great Photoshop drawing brushes.