I saw many amazing skins on various Minecraft Skin pages, solely by Blender! I PMed him about his strategy for making great skins, and this is what he said!
So my technique for making skins involve 2 image editing programs:
The first one is Gimp. It’s like a simpler and more direct Photoshop that is easy to use. It also comes with some cool effects like lens-flare, and colorize.
The second is SkinEdit. It allows you to create minecraft skins without the guessing. It labels the front, back, legs, the arms (extremely useful), and it has a real-time character in the corner with your skin!
(both of these are free btw)
So I get the shapes and general colors in SkinEdit, then i open it up in Gimp and do all the shading. I will go back and forth many times before it starts to take shape. One of the things i Have learned is that even if it looks bad at first, and you are thinking of restarting, keep working on it because it wont look good in the beginning.
Here are the links to the download:
http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/379 … a-3-pre-7/