This was a long, long, long painting. Most of that simply comes down to me changing my mind several times.
This individual is a seɪwä, or Temple Guardian. The design of the guardian came together easily. I'd already hammered out the anatomy of this species some time ago, so that just left clothing to figure out. I wanted to stick with something kind of like a kilt, so the challenge was making such simple clothing interesting, and keeping it all in greyscale (since they don't utilize color) while still making each piece look separate. I went through a lot of concepts, but the design you see here was the winner.
The background here isn't nearly as strong as the character design. Just scrawls roughly where I imagined buildings to be, with the figure standing on a patio that overlooks a city. I ran with this for a time, though, hoping it might come together, later. Sometimes that works out. Many times, it doesn't. In the process GIF below, you'll see some of the different background ideas I went through before finishing the painting.
After finally deciding I didn't like the open patio idea, I went into Blender (it runs nicely on my computer, unlike Maya), and blocked out a new scene. The rectangular shapes were my stand-ins for figures. At one point, I wanted to add another figure--a priestess--but didn't have time to do so. I feel that the final composition here is a lot stronger than what I had before. It also makes a tad more sense to have the character inside the temple. She looked out of place, just chillin' on a patio, before.
And just for fun, here are some additional narrative bits:
Seɪwä were picked from the elite of the warrior class to guard temples, their contents, and the priest class. Today, they serve a largely ceremonial position. However, the pole-arms they carry are not; all seɪwä are highly trained and keep their weapons sharp.