Before starting another book, I decided to do a quick lesson on using fur. This is from one of Maya's short online lessons. Above is the teddy bear they provided for me.
Then I changed the color of the fur and added in some whiskers using the preset for porcupine hair. Lastly, I set up some cameras and turned on some shadow effects and rendered out the bear below. It looks fairly impressive considering how little work was actually involved. I will find out how difficult fur can really be soon enough.