This is a bit of process for one of my latest illustration projects.
The idea behind it was a metaphorical illustration for a corporate client. In this case, I took on a kid's book company and used as my basic metaphor "reading is an adventure".
This was my first set of comps - basically, the little boy being taken literally on an adventure.
However, this final, like the comps before it, was not particularly metaphorical at all. Instead of implying that reading was an adventure, it simply shows a little boy going on a bunch of adventures with an Indiana Jones type character.
So, after the crit that exposed the rough edges to this concept, I added a couple of elements that would drastically change the concept to imply the power of the kid's imagination, which is really the point of the illustration. The descent of adventurer and boy into the depths of a sinister amazon temple became an imaginary journey down the kitchen stairs... creeping past undead amazon warrior(esses?)s became sneaking past a brother's room, down the hall. This way, I could both showcase the idea of adventure while emphasizing the safety of keeping these safely internal (inside the house and inside the head).
Basically, this was my attempt to salvage a project's concept without having to re-draw the whole thing.