That was an experimental piece that I planned a long time ago, but realized only recently. It was inspired by the various lighting on the reference photo, and I just extended the idea that originally came to me - by adding flames and frost and so on. The flames, I admit, don't look realistic, but I think it just needs another kind of perspective in the picture for that. I tried many things for them, that's about the best idea that came to me. The eye reflection was also a challenge, I think I did well on that one in the end.
This one took about 3.5 hours, 2 h for the fur, the rest was magical experiments
Reference: Eye of the Tiger Cat
Thank you for the reference!
Done entirely on Ps CS4.
Step by step animation: [link]