Refining my design
Once I have a design I like, I can use the elements on their own layer, lock the pixels, and begin to adjust colours and textures. Note, though, that none of the finishing steps are worth anything unless my design has some validity to begin with.
I start by laying in flat colour and adjusting it until the overall ‘read’ and colour value relationships are correct. This takes time, but is important to get right. I’m setting up my ‘realism’ in this phase. If I don’t depict these relationships correctly, no amount of detail will ever make it look real.