This is how I went about to create this image.
1. I open up a new document (8.5X11) and I make the background darker (-25%). I chose one of my favorite sketching brushes and I lay down the general idea f
or the illustration. I normally explore 4 options for this by splitting the image into four smaller images, but this time I was very happy with my initial sketch.
2. I use a custom brush to lay down a vague idea of how the armor is going to work as well as other costume elements.
3. I define the features even further and start adding more tone to define form.
4. I add a CURVES adjustment layer. I select each channel individually to give the piece a wash of color. The good thing about CURVES is that you can add two colors at the same time. One for the lighter tones and one for the darker ones.
5. I add a new layer set to OVERLAY and I start adding color.
6. I add all the colors and define form and detail in a NORMAL layer.
7. I make her hair longer and start defining details more and more going from general to specific.
8. I define the face. I wanted to leave the face till the end. Sometimes I put too much emphasis on the face and forget to define other features.
FINAL TOUCHES - I add a color film texture and apply HIGH PASS filter set to SOFT LIGHT and at 50% opacity. I also added a LEVELS adjustment layer and make the overall piece brighter. I flip the piece because I prefer this composition. Done.