I was creating a little three-panel-comic experimental sketch, and while doing so, I drew a small composition that was very similar to the final result here. It already showed the crystals, snails and their riders in orbit, with a planet in the background.
The first attempt to finalize it wasn’t getting me where I wanted, so I put the image away for some time. When I came back to it, I knew what had to be changed to move it closer to where I wanted it to be. I think the big crystal and the main snail took most of my attention, and the final color composition was there very late in the process.