This quick head study of some sort of alien creature was done primarily to practice a more direct painting method. I usually begin my paintings and concepts by doing a detailed value under painting achieving a colored version by glazing color over the top using layers set to various blending modes. This image was a departure from that process starting with a loose sketch and working up values and colors simultaneously. When I'm practicing a new technique I try to do my best to focus only on the skill I'm trying to learn. For that reason I choose subject matter that I'm very comfortable with like creatures because it requires much less brain power for me. If I were trying to paint some crazy new design my attention would be divided between the design challenges presented by the image and the method I'm trying to master. I have found that doing this, for me at least, really complicates things. It compounds the problems essentially stacking them on top of each other which can result in a frustrating mess. I of course would like the creature to look interesting but the design of it is not my primary concern. Though a design may not be the most innovative thing you've ever done I think what is more important is that it provided an interesting enough subject to use while learning something new.
Photoshop CS5, Intuos 5 Tablet