I got to the point where I was ready to put the spots on the cheetah griffin. And I realized that I was going to need some guides for them. They go in distinct patterns, they don’t just sprinkle the animal randomly.
So, after staring at my reference photo for a while, I came up with the following spot flow pattern.
The resulting spots:
I couldn’t exactly tell for sure, but I think the spots in the middle of his side actually go in a spiral, like a thumbprint. Unfortunately the wing covered that up in mine.
I went with a real dark background in the end, with lots of texture brushes in it. I’ve been looking at a lot of paintings by old masters, and they were totally into really dark backgrounds. It makes your subject pop.