All the renders just keep getting better and better!
BrumitD - nice cat but are you sure you want him playing with the big cats?
MangyDesigner - your lion is a real king -- much better groomed than mine.
I ended up using 4 hair nodes. One for the body, a seperate one for the head/chin/ear tufts (just because), one for the mane/cheeks, and one for the tail tuft.
It's hard to tell but did you comb the body hair or is it just short hair straight up? That might account for the bald spots.
I made the body hair just long enough to overlap, then between combing and the surface attract tool flattened the hair to the body and checked to make sure it was all pointed in the right direction. Then with the curl tool and surface attract pulled the hair up so it was just slightly off the surface with a bit of curl to break up the straight lines.
Increasing the pepper setting can help to make the mane darker if that is what you want.
Here is my last pass at the lion - no post work.
Click thumbnail to see full-size image