First, let's open a new file. We're going to make use the standard Letter size.
We'll also need some inspiration!. Freepik.com is a great site to find reference images!
This is the reference photo I've chosen for the design.
Let's put it in our workspace so it's easier for us to sketch.
Try and base the sketch on the reference image as much as possible; pay attention to the movement of her body, her hand on her hip, the angle of her elbow...
Make a new layer with this sketch and set the mode to Multiply.
Now, let's add some colors to the background. This will help us decide which colors we're going to use for the character later.
OK. Now we'll apply some flat base colors to the character.
Let's start adding in some light.
At this point we can pause for a moment. Are we happy with the character so far? Is there anything we want to change?
Let's add some details!
It's time to start painting our body. Make sure that the edges are clean.
Now let's add some volume to her clothes!
So we'll keep on adding detail and volume to the clothes, paying attention to our reference.
It's always a good idea to have three colors: a base, a mid tone, and a lighter one. this way, we can achieve a more realistic look.
Let's do a little texturing.
Make sure you place each element in a Layer folder so your document is nice and organised.
We can have fun and experiment with the background, making a mixture of colors.
It's possible that while your painting you might want to change some details of the body or any part of the character. In this case I wanted to change the face a bit and add a pair of glasses.
We'll add a layer in Multiply mode to generate what's called an Ambient Occlusion.
Maybe you can add some lights in this step.
You can use the Outer Glow effect in one of the Layers taking advantage of the backlight, creating some reflections.
A layer in Overlay mode lets us to play with lights and color.
And finally, we can play around with the small details. Here, feel free to add whatever you want.
Select the Particles Brush (you can download any kind of particle brush), and choose the Smudge tool to drag the particles around the illustration.
Make a simple circle and use the Outer Glow effect in the Layer. Check the Menu Options and input the values shown below. When the circle has "light", grab the Eraser tool, with texture, and go over the circle.
And here we have our final result.