Process: Abducting Cows
So, I invented a pretty inefficient way to illustrate something. I use this method when I want something bright and cartoonish, but not too flat/vectory.
Step 1: Illustrator
I start by drawing the basic characters in Illustrator.
What I ultimately want is a vector feel with some lighting effects, so I have added in some of the lighting here in AI. You certainly could skip this entire step and draw your characters right in Photoshop with shape layers instead, but I usually don't think of that until I'm too far along in Illustrator to start over in Photoshop.
When I get everything drawn out, it looks like this. Then it's on to:
Step 2: Photoshop
I import the different elements I want to manipulate onto different layers in Photoshop; the background, cows, ship and beams of light are all separated now, and ready for glows, Gaussian blurs, gradients and filters.
If you wanted to add textures to things, like to make it look like your cows are made out of cut paper or carved out of pineapples or something, here would be the place to do it.
I realize many of these effects are doable in Illustrator, but as with doing things backwards in Step 1, I find them easier to monitor and manipulate in PS. My hat's off to those of you who can have 10,000 objects/effects/clipping paths on one layer in Illustrator and not go crazy.
Step 3: InDesign