The first thing I did was draw the contour of the wolf with a brush getting the general shape down quickly.
Then I looked for the big color and value changes and blocked those in ignoring details and edge quality at this point.
Next I start to modify those big shapes by adjusting the smaller changes within them and paying attention to their edges.
The last thing I do is scrub in a background so I can paint the highlights and paint the details and refine the proportions where I think they need it. I am not really trying to paint any differently than when I paint a landscape. While there is a little more accuracy involved here, the approach is basically the same for whatever subject I tackle.
Complete time for this is two hours. These types of exercises are great for practice; changing subject matter is a good way to apply the ideas of picture making that you have developed. If your ideas have any veracity they should work for any subject matter. If not they are most likely a formula and should be re-thought or discarded for something more universal.