The basic gist is pretty much a compositional thumbnail; it's all about figuring out the shapes and values and being sure it feels right before moving on to more involved drawing. I don't think I've ever done this before, but it's a lot of fun.
I think one of the coolest things is finding out how much overlap there is between the different disciplines in art; making a great game design requires a lot of the same stuff that making a great illustration does. These are probably pretty mediocre weapons as it's my first try at it, but whatever goodness they have is totally coming from composition class, learning to create abstract shapes for mood, including different types of shapes for balance and contrast, creating implied lines of action, and a whole bunch of stuff. I've only ever really composed paintings, so using that knowledge to approach weapons is really fascinating, and it'll be even more so to start applying it in 3D whenever we get around to doing that.
So yeah, hope ya dig it so far, I'll probably be refining these further tomorrow and we'll see what happens. Excited to get feedback on them, it's a brave new world!
Have a good one!