Alright, so this will probably be a mistake (I think Quixel/PBR favors metals) but my plan is to go the blood route....
I'm going to do a stylized beast with reptilian/oceanlike influences. The only thing I'm pretty certain I'm trying to keep is a lobstered tail... maybe having it more scorpion-like.
For the rider I'll either be going with a bandit or tribal theme. I'm going to make their design influenced by insects in some fashion. I like the idea of having a subtle hint at an almost parasitic relationship between these two. I will be giving these guys both some kind of armor or decor, maybe leather or bone.
I haven't quite decided on whether or not I want to go with speed or strength, so I put together a couple zsphere sketches trying to figure out what was appealing. I'll either wake up tomorrow and think they're all horrible and start again or grab something and try out some dynamesh concepts.
I put together some zspheres to play with body structure
and a test to figure out what a rider might look like on them