I always go silhouette → graphical breakup → then directional lighting (one Adjustment Layer entirely devoted to shading and another for highlights) → slap on textures.
My process can take a good deal longer, but the idea is being able to backtrack (not like I've had a boss who's told me to go back and do half a dozen variations of my existing character - not yet anyway...) ^~;
thanks ness! yea having lighting in separate layers is better for backtracking light... but i hate having to stop painting to switch between layers so i generally will merge down into one. the layer separation weakness comes when you have to change something major like arm position, cause you have to move each layer, and that can become time consuming. once all colors/values are there i am able to move/repaint areas fairly quickly. you should do a process post too when you get some time, i'd like to see it (=