I began work on this, as usual, by roughing in shapes in Photoshop. Wanting a very clean look, I took those roughs into Illustrator to "ink" them. Then I dragged the characters back into photoshop to arrange them and to color them.
...Other work obligations appeared and demanded my attention, and I knew I was not going to make it if I didn't start cutting corners, so the final few characters I drew quickly in photoshop and simply left them there, tightening them up as best I could.
...There were a few unfinished and unresolved design problems at the very end, but what can you do? The harried, final push was spent smooshing things around and coloring in the awkward spots in an attempt to make it look like it was all planned that way.
...It would have been great if I could have done a couple of more rows on top and to the side-- eh, but that's just because drawing the characters was so much fun.