Every piece requires a series of sketches. I usually provide 2 or 3 options to a client, and they can choose their favorite. Sometimes when I'm really stumped, I'll just do one sketch and hope for either approval or some constructive criticism.
For Affa Guardhound, I provided two ideas. The first would have been easier to do, but the one that was chosen made for a more exciting piece. It illustrates the function of the card better as well.
Plague Stinger was a similar story. I provided three options. The first is a downward shot and would show the setting from above. The second is an extreme upward view, with the insect horror attacking the viewer. The final idea (my favorite) was the one chosen to move to final.