First of all, as might be obvious, I quickly Photoshopped up the blacks in the background (and only in the bg). I painted it in black india ink, which then proceeded to warp the board, and resulted in a poor scan. If anyone wants, I would be happy to upload the un-Photoshopped one as well.
I had only 2 specific requests from the client. No mustache (I assume this is a reference to the Batman TV show) and very, very crazy. Okie doke. My composition idea was to use a lot of black to give it something of a claustrophobic feel, as well as to allow the bold colors I knew I would have to use to really pop. More on that in a sec. From there, I chose a placement that kind of mimics a comic book cover, though with the wrong proportions.
So, The Mad Hatter. He's sitting atop a big pile of Alice dolls having his tea. Oh, and Robin is somehow drowning in the dolls at his feet. There's a window behind him and if you look REALLY closely (it's purposefully subtle) you can see the silhouette of Batman getting ready to crash through the glass. I like seeing how far I can stretch a "story" in one shot. At least it sets a scene. I also knew I wanted the Hatter breaking the fourth wall, looking right at the viewer with that big insane grin. It really seems to work to make you a part of the scene. How you interpret your involvement, I'll leave to you and your personal psychosis.
The little wooden Alice dolls are all muted in color. I chose the greyest blue (for example) Copics I had to give them color, but at the same time push them back a little. Everything else is just color theory. A study in complimentary colors being used to bring out and emphasize the whole, while drawing the eye down and across the page. Hopefully I've created a pretty straightforward top-left (hat) down to bottom-right (Robin's hand) composition, with the unfurling tie slowing you down a bit.
Copic markers, colored pencils, india ink, and acrylic paint on 11x14 smooth bristol board.