Usually when I start a character painting as a personal project I don't have a clear idea of what I want the image to look like when it is finished. Often I'll just start doodling and the ideas slowly start to form into something coherent over time. You will be able to see this process at work in Fig.01 where you can see that I just started sketching loosely, trying to figure out what I wanted to paint. At this stage I am not at all worried about it looking good, it's more about creating a loose roadmap so I can picture a destination in my mind. I keep the work black and white at this stage as I will add color later on.
Once I had settled on a direction I began to flesh things out a little bit, adding some color using overlays and color layers, as well as refining the figure. I wanted to establish a good pose as early as possible, so I spent time tweaking her stance and trying to make the weight distribution look right. Although it's possible to make changes to the pose later on, it's much easier to do it at this stage as there is less to re-paint. In terms of color, this is really just a base to work off and you'll see me push and pull the colors around throughout the process until I get something I'm happy with (Fig.02).