Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It's been made into a movie and the article links the protagonist of this series as a new younger version of Holden Caufield of Catcher in the Rye fame.
The AD wanted to reference the art from the original Catcher in the Rye cover but in a new way that related to this middle school wimpy kid.
I submitted these three sketches and I was kind of hoping they would go for the top one. They loved the playground theme and the horse was a good link to the Catcher cover but they were afraid that the Wimpy Kid connection was lost.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is partly written and part cartoon with some very styled stick figurish people. They wanted something that looked more like the Wimpy Kid style so it was back to the drawing board. It is very strange to copy someone elses style of drawing and I struggled to figure out a way of integrating everything. Finally the solution was making the Wimpy Kid exactly like he is in the book and not integrating him with the background at all. Kind of like a sticker stuck on an old book. A challenging assignment but a fun outcome.