I know you wanted this to look chinese (and to be honest, it did reminded me more of China than of Japan), but the first thing that comes to my mind with this picture is Hikaru no Go. I like this picture, makes me feel that they have an objective, and the atmosfere gives that wharever it is, they will manage somehow.
I'm still trying to figure out how to use it properly XD do you use a lot of layers and just really bright colors on the wheel? Oh, and what coloring tool do you use for the main color? (brush, pen, ink pen, ect)
yes,this kind of painting style needs many layers(this one,mainly about 50) I use SAI and combined with PS to adjust the colour. so the colour is not simply choose on the wheel. I just use the [basic brush] and [marker] of SAI to color.