This thumbnail is sort of where I started. I say "sort of" because I went through two other related concepts that had a fair amount of thumbnailing and research involved. One centered around a griffin in a regular taxidermy shop and the other around a guy sewing up a jackalope in a mythological creature taxidermy shop. The voice of reason a.k.a my sister pointed out the morbidity of the concept, so I went searching again for ideas. I don't really remember how I came up with doing my take on Thumbelina, but I settled on that idea relatively quickly because it's a fairytale familiar to most in the fantasy community, providing some basis of connection with my audience. I also knew that I would have an opportunity for some cool dynamic poses with the narrative that I was developing for this illustration. You can't go wrong with cool dynamic poses.
Several more large changes here. The fairy prince was just was not working in the previous version. The composition was ok, but the angle of his body was not very flattering, even if it was a dynamic pose. It's also easier to read that he's a fairy by having more of the wing in the picture (sounds like the opposite problem I had with Thumbelina). There are a couple things I have noticed work better in the previous version, including the values and the toad's pose. The Lilies may be a little too overbearing as well...We'll see what I can do about that in the next revision!
Just a little bit more on DAZ3D. It's pretty awesome. It's free and if you have to find a new pose like I had to, it's much easier to change your 3D model than having to remodel yourself or re-pose a live model. Not the best for lighting reference (or clothing), but then again if you have a better handle on the program than I do, I bet you can simulate very accurate lighting reference. I bought the frog model (very inexpensive) but the other two are part of the free package for DAZ.
Here's the re-posed dude with some floating frog phalanges.