The backside being so busy as you say won't really show allot of quilting so going for the front sounds good to me. I made a Christmas quilt for my GD, with a horse in a stable with a wreath on the door. I stuffed and outlined the head halter eyes nose et and outlined different aspects of it. It turned out great. Your will also!
I think I saw that fabric! I almost got iit for the christmas quillt I am making for the other grand daughter..but didn't wnat the christmas theme all year round. But it is really cool fabric...maybe the back of a christmas quilt for us! I intend to watch after christmas sales for christmas fabric and start in february making my christmas quilts fo rnext year!
Regarding the extra batting under the whales, yes, this is called trapunto. You would need to quilt some of the details in the whale to keep the extra batting in place. Actually, instead of spray basting the extra batting to the top, you could use a soft fusible such as MistyFuse to fuse it to the top.
Edit: There is a method for adding trapunto where you add a layer of batting underneath the shape and use water-dissolving thread to sew around the outline from the top. Then you turn the quilt over and, being ***very*** careful, trim the batting to just outside of the sewn outline. That way you can be sure to catch all of the whale outline in the quilting, as you will be able to see where the water-dissolvable thread is. However, this is a lot more work than the other method and you do risk accidentally cutting a hole in your panel.
Thanks so much for the info and instructions. I am going to go tomorrow and get 50/60 wt for this FMQ'ing and give that a try for softness! I cant order things on line so if I can't get it at the store, I can't get it. I did look at the brand names and have heard them mentioned here on this form from time to time. I just dont' remember them now. what blend do you like most?