This is how a recent horoscope illustration came into being; step by step.
I always start with a rough sketch (not shown due to technical difficulties) and some idea of what I'm aiming for. It can be fairly vague often changes along the way.
I lightly map out the drawing. This is on Bristol Board because it's perfectly smooth; I wanted to be able to get really straight, fine lines. I'm using oil-based Pitt pencils. I like the black colour and the feel of them.
The drawing is finished and ready to scan.
My girl is scanned in to Photoshop, hard cropped and layered on top of an ink splashed that I made and scanned separately.
Here, I have drawn the mane as a vector on a layer between the ink and the girl. This is my first try and I felt it didn't look leonine enough; more like a halo or a hubcap.
I have also applied gradient overlays to the other layers.
About 7 tries at a more mane-like mane later, I decided that a small change would do. After all, the illustration will always be paired with the word "Leo".