Here is my entry for the contest. It had quite a convenient timing, since I've already started working on the first form right before the contest started.
She is Praetorian Beatrix and her Praetorian gear. One of the main characters from my sci-fi story.
The mech is the extension of her body, making her an incredibly powerful character, in fact, one of the strongest.
The quality is kind of destroyed on this one, so I'll add links to this description for the three originals:
First form: peterprime.deviantart.com/art/…
Second form: peterprime.deviantart.com/art/…
Third form: peterprime.deviantart.com/art/…
I hope you'll like her! And I wish good luck to all the other contestants.
As for the questions:
1 - I use Photoshop CS6 and a Wacom Intuos 4l
2 - About inspirations, I could kind of list most of the sci-fi themed video games, and a good amount of professional artists. Those are always pretty inspiring for me.
3 - Not sure exactly how long it took me, but around 35-40 hours for all three