Speaking of instant gratification, this plan does mean a later release date, my current goal is to have it done by next year. So, to justify posting about a project that won't come out for a year, here is the first of (probably many) in progress shots.
First, one of my cleaner thumbnail pages, from the beginning of the story.
Next are two of my practice pages, done as exploration, with no reference, trying to 'find' Quickpaw's facial personality. I'd pretty much settled on his markings and general face shape by this page. I knew I wanted him more or less realistic, he's got kind of an overbite, and was experimenting with a few physical details of the Sense, which plays a crucial role in the story and deserves its own post later.
After getting acquainted a bit with Quickpaw, I tried to solidify and refine that information by drawing gestures from photographs, with my mental character filter turned on. The drawings got much more fluid and confident in these pages, but having already done many (many) drawings without it helped me keep drawing QP himself, while looking at photos of very different wolves, coyotes, and dogs.