Posing a model and gathering reference pictures carry the image farther and suggest details. The railing came much later on and really helped frame the figure. It's also just a little more environment for the character.
I recently created an illustration for the song Amylee by my friends The Michael J Epstein Memorial Library. With the image wide open and up to me you can imagine I started with pages of pre-thumbnail sketches.
We are five illustrators on a mission to create lots of good art, and to invite lots of feedback, so that we can create even better art! We will regularly post assignments, then post our progress and critique each other - and you can critique us too! We love feedback! Our names are Scott Murphy, Owen Weber, Rebecca Solow, Elisabeth Alba, and Craig Maher.