When I got the email and accepted the job, the article was pretty clear. The author, wrote about being tempted to spend a lot of money during the holidays that put aside living sustainable. It acted as a reminder that the holidays weren't about spending a lot of money on gifts but the togetherness of the holiday.
There was a clear metaphor in the article in using a tire wheel as a 21st century version of a advent wreath, with candles and greens. Originally, peasants made Advent wreath's, during the medieval times using the front wheel of a wooden wheel barrel to wrap flowers, greens and candles. I thought a bike tire would be a better image since Philadelphia is a huge bike city and more symbolic of sustainable living. The problem that happens sometimes being an illustrator is getting a great idea to quickly. It seems to good to be true and you hesitate on coming up with other solutions to the visual problem. I pushed through and submitted other sketches that acted as a gradient from concrete idea's to more abstract idea's/artistically liberal approaches that could of loosily told the story of the article. Below were the sketches presented.
Jamie ended up choosing the advent wreath image, which was a relief. So I went out and started drawing the image...