Decided to try jumping straight in again without any line art to make me nervous, I tried this method with the charcoal and it gave me much better results. So instead of making all sorts of mess again I decided to go to work on the "Chalk Brush" in photoshop.
The first thought was to actually find some nice colours.
I think the key will be to have earthy tones for the main parts of the character's bodies and then punches of brightness and colour on them, like from hair, feathers or markings. This is definately the right method when it comes to quick ideas.
Hers a couple more final ideas for the big guy.