Once I decided on my project and the (basic) story I wanted to make the next thing I had to do was more research, to see what was already out there in terms of merging 3D and 2D art in comics.
Unfortunately most of what I found by way of 3D in comics was either very explicit, stereoscopic, or focused more on the 3D instead of the 2D.
Neither of the images above were similar to what I wanted to accomplish. While I do like and appreciate the increasing level of realism many artists try to achieve with their work, like in the first image above, I didn’t think that the CG look many things tend to have when done in 3D was what I was looking for in my comics. And though I could have created the models entirely in 3D and used toon shaders and simpler textures to still try to achieve something similar to what I was going for, I thought something that employed my skills as more of a 2D artist would not only be an appropriate challenge but more helpful to me in the long run, considering I would like to pursue a career that would most likely require I use more 2D as opposed to 3D.
The second image which is stereoscopic was also far from what I had in mind for my thesis and also in my opinion a visually jarring style on top of inconveniently requiring my potential readers to purchase a cheap pair of 3D glasses (no doubt reminiscent of the flimsy cardboard red and blue lenses of the 90s).
I didn’t find much about combining 3D and 2D elements outside of animations and of course on single still images that often use programs like Photoshop to touch up the work. The link below is an article on the merging of said 2D and 3D animation in Japan.
What I did find and what I settled on by way of technique was building models in 3D and then drawing over them with color and adding details. The idea of which was laid out in artist Dean Cook’s blog:
As well as in this example using the Google program SketchUp in this article by Jim Leggitt: