Jeez, how many times have I tried to do cel shading before it finally hit me, "Why am I using Photoshop instead of that other program that's, I dunno, BEST FOR RENDERING FLAT-STYLE SHADING?"
I may occasionally curse your name for being so fiddly and twitchy, Adobe Illustrator, but you're truly a godsend. :
So after all these many tries and failures at cel-style coloring, I look at a few tutorials on how to do it in Illustrator and bam, I've got it. It's much more intuitive with a vector program than it is with a raster, not to mention vector objects make it easier to tweak and mess with stuff until it looks right.
The character is no one in particular, though I may need to give her and her sisters names, since I seem to practice all my new coloring techniques on random 3/4 right-facing profile anime girls with ponytails.
Sometimes you want to further your artistic abilities and test your limits by portraying human realism with deft accuracy! Sometimes you just wanna practice and draw sparkly anime nonsense. This was one of the latter times.
Created start to finish in Illustrator CS4; took about, ehh, 5 hours? Which seems like a lot for so little, but there was a lot of experimenting going on. Image is licensed under Creative Commons, so you can use the girl for pretty much whatever you want, just don't sell anything with her on/in it and credit me properly and we're cool.ETA (8/7/10):
Since I'm usin' this girl in my portfolio to, y'know, encourage people to pay me for art and stuff, I've changed the Creative Commons license a bit. I would also like to add a caveat that if you wanna use this girl, NOTE ME. Or comment here. Or email me. Just let me know in general that you'd like to use the image BEFORE you use it, please. TIA, my friends. <3