More exploration and initial refinement.
So the choices I've made so far on pushing the character have become a bit baboonish. One of the things I find appealing about designing known subjects is, how far can you push it until it becomes something else. In this instance, what makes a wolf a wolf and not a baboon? Without the body that information is more important, because the body would tell us a lot.
In the lower image I take my first pass at the appeal phase. While the character is way too complex and busy, it is becoming likeable. Especially when using busy constructions I fall back on known cartoon shorthand for eye and mouth language. It does what I want, I find these particular sets very appealing, and is a quick clear read.
From here choices I could make become more diverse. Do I continue to simplify the line language? Do I force the eye instead using value and color so I can keep the noisyness of the lines? What is important and where do I set priority? If this was for a real project I'd probably tackle eye read first, which means making a firm eye choice and probably making them much larger on the face.
As I am designing, all of these notes come into play, but in my own head, it's sort of a silly doo doo doot this makes me happy this makes me frustrated set of feelings rather than verbal thoughts. I will say mostly frustrated. I'm kind of an angry drafter, but the characters make me happier as they come into being.