Tehilah asked about my speedpaint process. Since I did this guy on lots of layers, I can reconstruct my process for you.
1. I set my sketch layer to multiply and start painting underneath. Since I didn't have a palette figured out, I just set up some low-contrast colors that work well together and planned to push contrast and saturation gradually.
2. Rendered the critter a bit, and did a color balance adjustment layer to tweak colors.
3. Painted more in the background, then back to the critter again. Another color balance layer to push it even more.
4. Added patterns on the critter, some are painted opaquely and some are on *a 'color' layer. Did yet another color balance to play with the shadow temperature.
5. On top of my work I like to make a hue/saturation adjustment layer. That way I can check value and composition in the preview window periodically and analyze trouble spots.
6. Just a quick clean-up above the sketch layer to make it more presentable.
A few notes :
*I use lots of layers to double-check my progress, sort of an extended history. I can click off layers and revert to an early version if I don't like the direction it's going.
*Working without a pre-set palette I end up with mooshy stuff like the first stage. You can avoid this by planning your palette.
*I like to use 'color balance' since it gives nice control over temperature change from dark to light. You can create really eye-catching color without getting too muddy, if you work it right.
creature concept developement- started with something very feline, and it eventually evolved into a more hyena-like monster. This critter can merge with shadows and likes to eat enchantments, curses, etc