I'm sharing a snippet of a little job completed a few weeks ago. I created this digitally, but still tried to make it look like my gouache work. I'm pretty happy with it overall - and I feel a little more comfortable with the process. It sort of seems inevitable that I'll end up illustrating on the computer, at least for educational work. With a little practice I surely could shave some time off my painting process.
I started out by sketching (and sketching and sketching - see below for just one of several pages I did trying to figure out what the mice should look like and what poses to put them in, click to enlarge):
Once the sketches were submitted, revised, and approved...
I moved on to 'tracing' the basic shapes in illustrator. This step might be overkill but it helps me get the smooth curves I like in my work. I also left some weird areas in because I knew I could fix them more easily than tweaking curves in illustrator (see below):
Then on to photoshop to make the edges look a little more like they came from a real brush rather than a plastic nub on my tablet! Then fur, highlights, shadows, etc. (see detail below):