I'm self-taught in most graphic design software (I was unable to take computer art due to a full schedule)- so I have limited knowledge of all the different tools and features of illustrator. I've used Photoshop primarily for years, so I am not accustomed to working with vectors. I love the way illustrator and vectors look with my art- especially now that I've switched to a more graphic style. That being said- the process was very long and difficult because I went into this project pretty blind.
Not only did I end up with over a dozen layers and vector shapes and paths that I had to shuffle through, but I also had to figure out how to get the text to fit inside that jagged, irregular shape that makes up the hole in his armor. I literally had to redraw that stupid shape at least 5 times and tweak it so I can use the "area text" tool to type in it. Then I had to convert all the letters into objects so I can resize them and tweak the path so that it fills the space. And then make sure it's the right color and make sure that the text doesn't protrude from the outline. It was extremely frustrated.
The grungy looking half-tone pattern on his body is intentional and has to do with his character and storyline (he is of a synthetic race called the geth, whose minds are made up of thousands of separate virtual intelligence programs they call the "consensus"), and it took me three days to find a (free) vector pattern on the internet that I liked. (that and I forgot the name of the specific pattern I was looking for and had to go google fishing for it)
Either way, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and hopefully I will hone my illustrator skills enough to do some more original stuff- but the fanart is a fun and does help motivate me to further explore Adobe Illustrator.