Step-by-step: Something big is coming this way!
1 After I create a running pose for my creature, I add falling leaves, splintered branches and splashing water to show the impact the creature has as it charges through the forest. Because I want this image to feel menacing, I paint it face- on, with the beast coming at the viewer. It’s the best perspective, and feels right.
2 To give the effect of motion I add a simple Radial Blur to a copy of the image. I then apply a mask to the blurred version and paint out the areas that I want to keep in focus. The resulting blur vs focus contrast helps to make the beast look like it’s charging, and gives the viewer the feeling of retreating.
3 I add a little target fleeing for a better comparison. We can understand that a small creature is able to move quickly. By showing that the prey is in danger of being caught, I establish that the beast is just as fast, which alleviates some of the mental dissonance I mentioned and gives my beast some motivation.