After scrapping the orb idea, the 2nd idea had her with more authority where her hands would be behind her back but that idea bothered me because it didn't show off the rest of her costume...
...so i made her arms visible. It still showed her as authorative and confident. Basic shape of her cape added. This was the finished idea and now for the details.
Tightening up of the wristbands, right arm, neck and hips as well as the proportion of the head on the left side.
The details of the cape were added using the airbrush in Photoshop set to different sizes with Pen Pressure 'on'.
After the first underpainting was done in gray tone, a second underpainting was added to significant parts of the figure. Everything in black would be kept standard to bring out the background light that i add later towards the end of the piece. The flesh tone was as close as possible to model Cristi Duncan's skin complexion. Lips, skin tone and wristband colors all set to Pen Pressure 'off'.
After the 2 underpaintings were done, now it was time to add a finishing layer. I tinkered with the idea of having a blood red as you see in the first image, but it seemed too warm for her cold, dark stare. So i adjusted the color for something a little cooler and even though i liked both versions, they still didn't settle into her 'evil' demeanor and took away from the warm colors of the 2 underpaintings. These are the completed versions. I had deleted some of my layers so had to redo them for the purpose of this tutorial. :)
Fidgeting with color, i was blessed with one of those happy accidents that happen to some artists. While i was trying to find a nice warm color to fit the mood, i adjusted into some cooler ones and came across a bluish tone that enhanced the character in the correct way. It brought out the underpainted colors properly, and told the story that i wanted to tell. Cold, dark, evil but yet beautiful.
After the final overlay had been set, some background lighting was added as well as highlights to give the form of the figure some depth and i had my finished piece.