I finished this illustration, slated for my portfolio, yesterday. I had to wait for areas in the fiddles and crickets/grasshopper to dry some in order to add some detail.
So, to remind you of what's going on here, I tried to interpret this with animals, and for some reason, a toad came to mind. Also, when doing some research into the history of the nursery rhyme (at Wikipedia, nothing too in-depth), they suggested that in the era that this may have been written, pipe could have meant a recorder or flute as much as a smoking pipe. And, since he had called for his fiddlers three, it could have very well meant that OKC was making music too.
And, if I've chosen a toad for the main character, then what other creatures would fit? His servants, the fiddlers naturally seemed fitting as crickets and grasshoppers. Those insects make music in the real world, don't they? And, is this a friendly arrangement, or are they pressed into service....?
See the frog-in-waiting in the background? He's providing a selection of pipes here. And the bowl is brought in to the king, balanced on a snail's shell. This is a fairy tale world, mind you.
I'm going to send this out to some children's magazines.
As far as technique, this is a charcoal drawing (see the below post), with oil tinting over the top. Not sure if I'll continue in this vein. I returned to it after several years, but had the same trouble now as I did then: keeping things from looking muddy. I'll probably just go to straight oils. See the upcoming illustration: Alone in the Topiary Garden—under drawing coming in the next day or so.