For those of you guys who have been asking what programs I use and such I figured I'd not only tell you but also give a few tips of information in case you want to make your own characters.
First we start with our sketch. Here, we make a basic blue print of the final piece. You'll notice a few things change from the sketch to the final image (not many changes though) It's important to remember your sketch is just a guide, if you spot a mistake or something you feel could be done better, then change it.
From there I take a picture of the sketch and put it into illustrator to outline it. Using the Pen Tool I follow the drawing and make changes on the fly when needed. Once the outline is done, we have to make those lines more interesting and this is where the Width Tool comes into play. I go ahead and change the width of my lines as I see fit. Outlining is an art all in its own and goes very in depth on many different methods of line work. Just to throw a tip out there, using the same line width through the image not only makes the image look boring and flat but it also looks very unnatural. Lines have a huge effect on the image because they can suggest things such as depth, weight, shadow, as well as motion so you'll want to use different lines for different parts of a picture. Now that our line work is done we can take it over to photoshop. As you can see in the picture we have our red outline now in photoshop cs4. At this point I haven't done anything to this in photoshop, it's straight from illustrator.
The red outline is on whats called a transparent background (white and grey boxes). Think of those squares as negative space. The only thing on this layer is our lines and we are looking to make our lines black. To do this just click the lock layer transparency button.
What this button does is it's going to Lock all of the grey and white squares so that you can only paint on whats on the layer, in this case we can only paint our red lines. Choose the color you want (I'm using black for my lines) and paint your lifework. From here you want to make a new layer (command+shift+N on mac, Control+shift+N on Windows) and position this new layer UNDER your line work layer.This is going to be your fill in layer, where your colors go.Putting the layers in this order means your outline will show onto of your fill in.
At this point I use a 100% opacity hard brush to fill in my character.
I like to make a layer for each different part of the image. For example I would make a layer for her skin, shoes, skirt, belt, hoodie, mouth, eyes, and hair. This allows me to have a very organized workflow and it allows me to make changes to specific sections as well as paint specific areas. The image above was made for this demonstration after I had finished the drawing so the hair is already shaded, you however will have a flat color. Once you have all of your image filled in you're going to hit that lock layer transparency button on each fill layer. For example I would hit lack layer transparency on my hair, skin, hood, belt, shoes, so on and so on. If you only have 1 fill layer then hit the button for just that layer. Now you can shade and color your image to your liking. Once you're done you can merge all of your layers and save it, YOUR DONE :D!!!