JumperStride: I'm using Photoshop 7.0 believe it or not. So I'm actually very limited brush wise. I've had to learn to do a lot by hand.
Water actually has a lot to do with the color used and I tend to use a lot of layer masks and dodging/burning with it. I also use a Wacom tablet.
I'm always interested in trades! Helps me keep my skills honed.
The fish horse was a hard piece. I had to figure out scales and markings that were both koi and horse correct :)
Just Ruthiey: Some are done using my Wacom tablet and literally drawn on using a soft brush (sizes 1,2,3, and 5 at times depending on resolution and image size), othertimes I actually use smudge at 80% with a soft brush in the same sizes and just have a loose wrist and knowledge of how hair falls and how wind/action will move it. It takes practice and it's time consuming.
Don't be jealous! PRACTICE!
And thanks so much!!!!!! Feel free to stalk me on deviant art. User name: Oneoctoberstorm :)