I start off by figuring out the basic gesture and composition of the piece, sketching directly in Photoshop. I knew going in that I want to have her look confident and powerful, but not aggressive, so I try to make her posture reflect that: her shoulders are set back, her back is slightly arched, and her eyes are locked confidently on the viewer.
Developing the concept
I want her to be a mix of a warrior and an earth goddess, so I sketch in armour on one side and a magic staff on the other, and roughly outline plant forms and a curving tree in the background. I’ve given her a dress, but it’s a dress that looks comfortable and natural on her. I want her to look comfortable and capable of handling herself while still being beautiful.