Like most of my stuff, I started on paper -- I just don't show you ;) This is the original sketch:
I wasn't too careful with proportions because I fix them as I go along. You can see the concept for the sketch was really basic. No apple, no trees, no values or shading. I add those parts when they come to me as I paint.
Painting the armor took the longest. I did each section at a time, and worked from midtones to darks and then to highlights. The apple was fun to do though because I got myself a real apple to look at and I ate it after ;D
I wasn't sure what I was going to put in the woman's hand at first. I was thinking a glowing ball of fire, or a brain, or someone else's head (hehe) but I figured I'd keep it simple. Plus, having the apple made the tree in the background work.
I'm hoping it has a concept quality to it. I tried to make it pretty realistic.
Photoshop Cs3, Tablet, 21 hours.