These sketches of the characters are very close to what I want. I am still tinkering with small details and proportions. I am even considering sculpting them to make sure I have them fully locked-in. I am considering simplifying them a bit as well.
For a larger project like this, I typically have the idea stewing in my head for a while as I try to finish my mandatory work. As it unwillingly coalesces into what I know it needs to be, I feel the need to draw it but resist because I have other work to do. Then--usually some point around 3 A.M.--I realize I can't avoid drawing it any more. So I get up, click on the light, and let my pencil fly. That is how the following backgrounds were created. I draw quickly and rough, not being overly specific about perspective or details because I am just trying to get my ideas onto the page. Once they are drawn, I can see what I need to refine, and move forward from there.
I will be updating more of this as time goes on. Look for more advanced character studies and refined backgrounds! I'm very excited for this project and glad that I can share it.