This isn't really based directly off of Greek mythology though. While minotaurs are based off of Greek myth, Vanity is actually based off of the same lore that Alistar, another LoL champion, was stemmed from. He is a minotaur in the sense that he is a cow-man, but I don't think his story is based off of Greek myth. Vanity is based off of Alistar's people rather than history in the real world. o vo
For compositional purposes. Originally it was a larger picture and I wanted a close-shot foreground, meaning that the foot needed to be obscured by an even closer object (moss-covered rock.) But then the stream in the background was too annoying so I just cropped the larger picture down to the smaller one... and since the rock looked out of place, no foot.
As for the colors, I noticed that you start coloring with black and white and then work under or over it with blending (correct me if I'm wrong.) I make it a point to never use black and rarely use true 'white' when I'm drawing because those two colors make colors 'dull.' Instead, I use opposite colors for shading and bright colors for lighting. So like... you notice a lot of my shadows on skin are purple, or if something's green, the shadow's red or purple. I use a color for lighting (on skin, it's often yellow, and sometimes blue depending on the lighting color.
It's a good idea to mark out the shadows. I personally usually suck at lighting whereas you manipulate it so well. But try not to do it in black and whites if you can.
Also, at the very end, I cheat by using vibrance adjustment. >
I do use black a lot... I realize that I color pure black for shadows often... which is horrible... T_T... I also like the use pure white for extreme light situations... of course... makes the picture boring... I guess...><... I use to study a lot (self study) on techniques and neglects color theory and compositions... so hahaha... I am horrible at these stuff... still have so much room for improvement. So I am glad I get to talk to ppl about it XD
Like you said, I do black and white, since I can't see the shade in color... I don't know if I can abandon it (probably not until I get better with color theory) but I do a lot of layers on the black and white picture... so next time, I will keep what you said in mind ^^
I usually just use the basic brushes in photoshop for most of the drawing. I use a size-pressure brush (turn thick or thin) to do hard lining, base color, and cellshade. I use a flow-pressure brush (fade in and out) for painting, and I just adjust for opacity and flow in the drop-down menus for brushes. Brushes might be one of my biggest weaknesses. For realistic skin, I use soft brush. For more texture, I use hard brush. You notice a lot of my pictures have no interesting texture. That's cause my brushes are the same. I need to make some of my own paint brushes these days... ; ^;
As for using shade color, why don't you try it with a different color to do your shading instead? Like... the same as the darkest color in the background? I like to paint on a gray-purple background so I just do a darker variation of the gray-purple as shading. If you do all your shading in purple or dull red, that might enhance your drawings. -nodnod-
I plan to make some of my own, actually. Also, I do work from light to dark as well as dark to light. I just don't use black as the shadow. I usually use purple. I don't know what will work out for you, but I'm sure you'll find a trick.