This is an old cover I did for WOTC years ago that I actually saved some
steps. Usually my steps in a painting are fairly incoherent. For whatever
reason, this painting was done more methodically. There’s still lots of
searching going but the boundaries are there and were for the most part
unchanged till the end. The painting is digital of course, and was completely
done in Painter. 
 The first stage with this illustration was to give the Art Director a couple of ideas. Basic composition stuff. Done in Painter with the scratch board tool. He picked the third one.
 Going with this one, I fleshed it out  a bit more with value before diving into color. its rare for me to take a sketch that far as most of my love of painting comes from discovering the image as I go.
I did a fill here to get my under painting color. Next I started glazing with the Digital watercolor. 

More Digital watercolor with the air brush tool for the opaque. 

More color added with glazes. Working into the shapes with more definition.

Finished painting. Between this and the last stage was just working through glazes of color, trying to keep my shadows transparent, refining my lights.