Grand Space Opera: Light Age - The Beginning

Hey everyone,
This frame is from my submission for the Artstation challenge. It was a ton of fun to share my process, talk to other artists, and exchange a few tips!
You can see the full submission here:
https://www.artstation.com/contests/grand-space-opera-light-age/challenges/91/submissions/58170?sorting=survivors

The story:
In a not too distant future, humanity has managed to find a
wormhole in our galaxy and keep it open.
Thanks to this achievement, it opened the contact to many other races.
Mankind became known as the youngest faster than light civilization.
Thus began the Light Age.
Impressed by this achievement, humankind was invited to join “The Council”:
a community of representatives of various civilizations in the universe to keep
peace and order.
Humanity sends its best to embark on this incredible journey. But not
everyone in the universe likes to see earthlings join “The Council.”

Frame 1:
Flying through the portal is always a big event. All those cosmic colors leaking into our dimension mark the start of an incredible journey.