I did this some time ago, looking at it now, there are some parts I would do different. But I'm still happy about the overall mood of the image. The whole piece is based on one of my ever returning dreams; shining green water and a forest full with trees, older then the first big cities.
I started sketching very roughly with Photoshop's standard brushes: Airbrush Pen - Opacity Flow on a small sized sketch - later stretching the sketch to the final size of 3318 x 5782 px at 300 dpi.
At first I was thinking about giving her lilywhite fairy skin, but later I dropped this idea and settled on a more normal looking tone.
To get things as realistic as possible, I have used some of my pictures that I have saved as reference. This is especially useful for the drawing the hands and feet.
Next step is her clothing and then the background.
Working on her outfit, was quite simple as it's very warm in this forest, so there was no need for drawing much clothing.
Enough work on the elven girl for now so lets do some work on the background, which looks very messy right now (image 6 and 7). I have used a few textured brushes to get a bit more variation in my brushstrokes, but in the end I switched back to my usual 2 brushes: the "soft round" with other dynamics set to pen pressure and the standard "airbrush pen opacity flow".
Using some of the skin colors that were brought from the background. I started working on the pond. Removing the old stone figure, I've added some water ripples by smudging slightly over some parts of the ground texture