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Creature Concept (opinions are appreciated!)

I began by trying the random brushes as RJ suggested to try and come up with some unique designs. They weren't all successful, but there are a few that I am interested in pursuing. Once I've decided on a basic direction for my creature I'll do a bunch of sketching.

Any opinions about which designs are most interesting? 

Update, 1/31/14

Based on comments (thanks to everyone who gave advice) and my own preference, I decided to play around more with number 4 from the doodles above. That's right. The fuzzy overgrown chicken with the spikes on its belly.

My idea for this creature is a large, prehistoric-ish bird. This bird has a unique way of capturing prey. It digs or finds a ditch near its prey's feeding grounds. It buries itself until only its mossy/overgrowth back is showing--which blends into the surroundings (kind of like a sloth gone wild). Then it conserves energy while waiting for it's prey. It uses it's senses of smell and sound to sense oncoming prey.

Here's where it gets crazy. The bird waits until it feels its victim step on it. Immediately it takes a huge vertical leap using it's powerful back legs. The prey is thrown to the ground and stunned. Meanwhile the bird--which is too heavy for full flight--uses its wings to glide and steer its fall onto the prey. As it falls, the bird's chest inflates to reveal myriads of sharp spines (similar to a puffer fish). The bird body slams its victim, causing massive damage from the spines and impact. Then the bird rests on top of the prey until it bleeds out and/or suffocates. A bit gruesome, but a good way to get a meal without too much work.

I hope that made some kind of sense, and at least seems somewhat plausible! I started doing some real sketches. I'm still new to sketching on the computer, but some of them are faily successful (and some are super ugly!). It's also obvious I need some reference material, but I'd appreciate comments about the following:

  • Which heads and bodies are worth spending more time with?
  • Suggestions about the mechanics of the bird and its hunting?

Update, 2/4/14

I'd still love some feedback on my sketches above, but the following are my reference photos and studies:

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