As you can see, I started with sketching in Painter 11 using the "Cover Pencil" (and my Intuos4) which I found to be great for sketching. For this step, you have to be precise and work every detail out, because that way you won't have to guess on things during the inking stage.
step 2 of 7
Inking in Painter with the "Scratchboard Tool". If you have a nice sketch, this stage should be easy. I kept the lines kind of rough because it gives the image a nice crispiness and keeps it from looking too digital.
step 3 of 7
I moved the image into Photoshop CS5 and laid in "fats". All i had to do was select an area with the wand (if it's not closed, use the polygonal lasso), then go Select => Modify => Expand and type in 1 or 2 pixels. This puts the selection borders in the middle of the outlines so you won't get any uncolored spots in between the color and the outline. Then you just use your brush to color in the selected area. Keep every color on a separate layer because it's easier to shade that way.
step 4 of 7
I added shading to every color using the lasso tool. If you lock the transparency on the layers, you can't go out of the lines.
step 5 of 7
I felt the background to be too empty so I added the mountains using the same techniques.
step 6 of 7
I changed the background gradient and painted some clouds with a custom brush I made using daarken's tutorial. I also added some final details such as the fog or the highlights on the wood and hair. And that's pretty much it. =]