This 'Lost' commission requested by a friend offered me a unique challenge: showing two versions of John Locke together, one the actual person that we knew for 5 seasons, and his current incarnation as the Smoke Monster/Man in Black. Since we haven't actually seen the two Lockes side-by-side, I decided to go with a more symbolic route, kind of a battle for the soul of John Locke. It also gave me a chance to use two elements that were essential to the character of Locke, his handicap and his suitcase of knives.
And credit must be given where credit is due. The idea for the smoke-from-the eyes came from artist Jared Stumpenhorst. I first saw his 'Lost' illustrations at io9, and I thought this particular feature was inspiring, and would be appropriate for this illustration. I don't know if this would be considered sheer stealing, or perhaps a little creative borrowing. I hope it's the latter. Either way, please check out his work, it's really quite excellent: Jared Stumpenhorst-io9