Jhoneil's Quick Tutorial

 

First off, I do the initial sketch on the computer (I don't like to do it on paper and scan later) and I do have a Wacom tablet attached to my computer to make drawing more natural. It takes some getting use to but it is worth having.
When I'm satisfied with the character's pose and positioning I add another layer in Photoshop and refine the details a bit and add elements that I think might be cool for the character.
You may also notice that there is a circle on the character's left side, next to her head - that is roughly where my main light source is. Also, take note that everything is in grayscale - it's better to do it this way so I can see the shading and hi-lights better and not worry about colors too much.
On the 4th frame, you can see that the figure is more refined and I added more details to it. At this point, I am just about ready to color the character. Before I do that though, I work on the background. This one has a very simple background so it's easy. On some projects, I start with the background first. The main thing is to have an image in your head of what the final piece will look like. Making thumbnail sketches helps.
Anyway, when I'm done with the background, I combine the figure and the background together. I go back to my figure and add a color layer to it and and start working the color in. This is a fun time but make sure not to make the colors too bright or everything will look cartoony.. unless that is what you are after.
I add a few more layers of texture overlays, lighting, color adjustments, and fuss with details until I'm satisfied.
After some experimentation, I found out that the less you blend and not make everything look so smooth that you get a painterly effect in Photoshop. I also use the paintbrush with wet edges a lot. If I'm using the airbrush, I mostly have the brush hardness set to 0. I'm a big fan of painters like Hopper and Sargent so I try to bring in their style to my work a little:) I'm not a big fan of airbrush work.