How to go from to with Photoshop. Uses Curves and texture dropping, so it should be translatable.
1. Get your base ready~ Kobato will keep me company today.
2. As you can see, there's some white space on the left side where the image ends, but that shouldn't worry us, we'll fix it later. So don't hesitate to use images that don't fill out the 100x100 after cropping! :D
Now we should work on the coloring first: let's start with a new layer, filled with #010335 on Exclusion, 100%.
[I = Input, O = Output]
RGB: [I 79, O 115], [I 145, O 190]
Red: [I 97, O 71]
Green: [I 112, O 100], [I 169, O 157]
Blue: [I 64, O 82], [I 151, O 173]
4. Yay, a lot better already! But her skin is a bit pale now. First, create another new layer and fill it with #DABAA0, set to Multiply, 14%, and then make a base duplicate right away, drag it to the top and set it to Lighten, 62% (this second step also gives the image more depth <3).
5. Kobato's hair is so pretty that it needs a highlight. :D Create another new layer and draw a big red/pink dot with a soft brush on her hair, or wherever you want to set a highlight on your image. I used #EF396C and a soft brush with 45px. Then set this layer to Screen, 100%.
6. It's time we do something about that annoying blank border. This texture by toybirds is perfect for this job: rotate it at 90°CW and leave it at Normal, 100%, but erase the disturbing black part.
7. Nice! But why not decorating the left border a bit more? For this step I took a brush with swirlies (but I can't remember which one D:), colored it with a color that'd benefit the image and moved it around to my liking. When I want to color a brush, I usually edit it until the swirlies appear in black and the background is white. In most cases they're already like this, if it's the other way 'round you can just go to Edit > Invert (and play with the contrast if the black swirlies are not dark enough). Next I pick the color I want to use, open a new layer, fill it with said color and set the blend mode to Screen, 100%. The swirlies should appear colored now. Try it out yourself or just use my swirlies here, on Multiply, 100%.
8. Next I took this texture (by ?) as a background for the text I wanted to add later on. Since it's so small I did something I always do when a texture doesn't fit the way I want it: go to Edit > Transform > Scale and scale it until it has the right size. Then move it around and set it to Screen, 92%.
9. But before adding text we need some shinies~ Take this light texture by onlyabreath and set it to Screen, 100%. I erased some disturbing parts.
10. Finally time for the text! I used the font Jane Austen, 12px in #A48DB6 with some tiny text and set it to Normal, 84% for this. Then as one last step, I made a new layer and drew another pink dot as in step 5 in the bottom right corner. And that's it!
Questions? Just ask! :D
Be creative and experiment however you want, and I'd love to see your results! I'm curious what you come up with. :D
Please comment on this post since I'll most likely respond there, and this batch is still open for tutorial requests, but please note that I probably won't get it done before late December since the request list has gotten pretty long already.