Simple Dragon Kid - Need help with topology

Lately, I’ve been dabbling in some simplistic characters so I can begin doing basic animations. I don’t have any decent models handy that would be simple enough to do what I have in mind, so I started making a semi-bipedal kid dragon, just for a placeholder.

I believe this to be a lousy method for making spikes along the comb, but so far it’s the only thing that makes convincing points.

The single biggest problem is this shoulder design, which I know is going to come back and bite me in the ass when I try to animate it later on. Problematically, this kind of extruded-cube joint is the only kind I know how to make.

Finally, his nose is too square despite all the subsurfing, but adding more verts scares me.

It’s not like this experimental project is of immense gravity or importance to me, but I’m not going to allow myself to continue to use inferior techniques when I know I can do better.

I want advice and instruction on how to create flexible, natural joints and more malleable, more clearly defined subsurfed shapes using the fewest possible vertices-- and to be frank, I’d much rather hear it from a forum member in their own words than be directed to a tutorial.

Bonus: Dragon Kid render using procedural textures showing how the “pinching” caused by the single-face-thick comb came back to haunt me with artifacts:

I’m not very experience in modeling, but i found that the sculptor + SubSurface is very useful if you want a low poly model with some details. I’m supposing that you are using a mirror modifier so you only are modeilng one half. Try this:

Add a subsurface modifier to your low mesh, then go to sculptor and add/modificate what you don’t like using the hi-res mess of the subsurf as a reference, and then deactivate the subsurface mod when you are done.

About the shoulder, you should try to draw the arms outstretched, and leave some poligons only to reveal where the shoulders should be. Then, when you add the bones to animate, the shoulder appears itself.