Many times I simply scan my storyboard, and put some loose color down to give the clients a feel for a project... as was the case here. From there I will develop the final art: BGs / character designs, based on the feedback I get. The client for this particular spot was wanting to capture the feel of Thailand in the 1940's and 50's. I had always wanted to make something with big band music... and this was the perfect opportunity. The client responded well to the initial sketches, and I began to plan the production.
I was experimenting with the idea of using cut-outs in Maya, mixing in elements of 2D animation. The first initial animation tests looked good, but everything came to a screeching halt when the clients son was killed in the tsunami. The whole country was in shock and mourning... the commercial spot, and the theatrical show were cancelled indefinitely.