Ok, so I'm going to post updates showing my progress through a bunny. Well, technically I am basing it off of a black tailed jackrabbit, but If it has long ears, a wiggly nose, and hops I'd say the official term is bunny, or even bun.
This is how I start all images. I put down a bit of transparent colour, and then some additional colour on top of that, it gives me a base to work from. For that, I do not use any special brushes, am not concerned about being exact, I just want to know where eyes and other bits go.
Once I have the base image in place, I use specific brushes to add in the fur or whatever it is I am working on. I generally make a new brush for every animal I do. I often make a new one for the smudge tool as well as the paint brush. For the most part, all I ever use is the paint brush and the smudge tool. The eye is what I do first, because then even when it looks completely chaotic still, it begins to have life.
Then, I do the work around the eye to help it feel grounded. I have to do that on a separate layer (think of it as a stack of transparencies and the base image is the bottom one, then the next layer is the eyeball, and then the fur is the top layer). If I don't, I will almost always end up with fur on the eyeball, and no one likes getting the "hairy eyeball". This is after I've started adding in fur with my specialized brush and have blended some of it. Generally it is multiple layers of colour. The dark areas have light colours and the light areas have dark colours, but the majority will be a few of the main colours for that layer. I add colour, blend, add colour, blend, until it looks right.
And here, I have started working on the muzzle. I still need to add more depth to what is there, but this will give you an idea of how things are going. I will post more tomorrow when I've worked on it again after class.