Oh, wow, I love the pose here; it has tons of dynamic energy and those highly appealing huge sweeping gestural curves! Very inspiring! I'm also impressed by the skillfully rendered details and the fancy lighting effects; feels really magical!
How long did you spend on the line art on this? Actually, how long did you spend deciding on the pose? Or finishing the whole thing?! I want exact times in seconds!! I ask because currently I'm struggling to produce anything because my mind seems to just give up if I haven't made something amazing in like 15 minutes or so. I'm always interested then in hearing how long it takes artists to do really impressive things like this, so then I can convince my mind to spend more time on things!
I didn't have a stopwatch on me, but I'll try to be as accurate Brainstorming/researching poses takes different amount of time for each piece, so I'll skip that one...usually, it's the pose that inspires me to draw so this can take hours to days.
oops, I submitted that comment by mistake... :/ Anyways, after the pose is decided, sketching the mannequin takes about 5 to 10 minutes. For this piece, I think it took about 5. I try to avoid doing detail as much as possible with sketches and that's why it only takes such short time. Here is the actual sketch. It's good to spend as less time sketching the idea, because it's more painful to edit/change something you spent hours on. You might end up missing something that needs to be fixed.
I then scanned this and made changes on the computer, hence the difference between the sketch pose and final pose. The final sketch (before line art) took just over half an hour. And my god, the line art took almost ALL DAYYY @_@ ...Actually, if I take away the regular breaks, it took about 3-4 hours. I add more detail on the design that I simplified in sketching process. This is mainly why it takes so long for me.
After I finish the base colouring, which took another 30 minutes, I start adding simple cel shades. This step usually takes only 1/3 of the line art, but this time it took about 2 hours. The light source is very close and wide below the figure, which made shading very difficult o_O;; it takes an extra 30 min adding more depth with the airbrush, but I keep on adding this in between the next steps. So I guess this takes an hour in total.
Finally, I play around with the overlay and luminosity layer (You might know what this is if you use Paint tool Sai). I use line art pen to add highlights on her hair, armour, skin, etc in cel shading style. This took 40 minutes to do with this and my previous piece. It took longer than usual because I wanted the light effect to be perfect :3. I didn't spend too much time on the magical flame, mainly because I had know idea how to paint it o_o so it only took about 10 minutes. The final touch and lighting effect with airbrush took another hour...I just really like spending more time on effects and refining.
I only estimated the time but this is how long I feel each step took to finish the piece. So based on my estimation...it took 9 hours and 25 minutes in total o_O Honestly, if someone came up to me and told me to work for 9 hours on a piece, I wouldj just run away. It's better to be less aware of the time sometimes But I really appreciate your interest! It made me think about something I haven't thought about recently.