Work in Progress: Karen's Totem (a Commission)

I sometimes do commissions for people, particularly if the subject matter seems like something I could do justice to (email me if you would like to inquire about your own commission). A couple of months ago I got a very interesting request from a woman who wanted to see if I could draw her animal totem, which she had dreamed about. Her totem consisted of a wolf, a golden eagle and a cobra all morphing into one another. In addition the eagle's wings were patterned like a monarch.

I don't mind saying that this was a challenge for me to draw, to make it look right without looking ridiculous or unnatural. The client and I went through a couple of sketches to get the right composition. Compositionally, the sketch the client ended up agreeing to looked different than what she originally envisioned, but I felt that it was a stronger choice, that it got across the spirit of her vision, as well as had a better aesthetic feel to it.

Below are some work in progress photos of the beginning phases of the coloring process. I'll post the final photos when I'm finished and the client approves.

A big inspiration to me during this process, was an artist whose work I fell in love with as a teenager - Susan Seddon Boulet , Her artwork with Native American  mythology, world folklore and shamanistic dream journeys was something I really admired.