Here is my start on my colored pencil piece titled "Reflections". This is the upper left corner of the piece. The size of this artwork is 10" X 24". As you can see I tend to start in the upper corner (or the eyes) and work my way down and across.
I chose Moccasin Suede Mat board as the support. I love applying colored pencils on the suede board. It allows me to lay the layers down as if I am painting. I can add the highlights on top of the dark colors and still have them really pop. Typically I would have to save my highlighted areas because Colored Pencil is transparent, but with the suede board it reacts as if it is opaque.
I start out by drawing a very detailed contour drawing and then transfer it to the Suede Board. When I'm doing the fur on suede board or a sanded surface I tend to lay down a layer of medium color and then feather in the dark and light hairs. That tends to give it that real fur look. I used the same approach on the log, lay down a layer of medium color and then added darks and lights on top of that. I also use Gamsol to blend some of the areas. This helps dissolve the pencil down into the tooth of the suede board.
When I am creating my colored pencil artwork I break each piece of the reference photo down to little squares. This way I am looking at lines, shades, color and shapes. This approach makes it much easier for me to get the realistic look. If you decide to try this approach yourself you may want to take notes of what colors you used for the different areas. I personally don't take notes because I have worked with colored pencils long enough I almost always use the same color of pencils to achieve a certain look, but at first, I did keep notes. If you have any questions let me know and I will be happy to answer them.