(By the way, if you're unfamiliar with the Romanian fairy tale, you can read the story HERE from Andrew Lang's Red Fairy Book and see some relevant links HERE in Wikipedia.)
Chris Beatrice, a digital illustrator and member of the CGSociety, generously breaks down his process in both the thinking and the execution for this piece. You can see working sketches and preliminary color experiments HERE, (there are two pages) as well as read an explanation of the steps.
Here's an excerpt about the tale's inspiration:
As soon as I read “The Enchanted Pig“, I was drawn to its main character - a young woman who undergoes a host of trials in her quest to find her husband (who has been transformed into a pig), and return him to human form. She must wear out three pairs of iron shoes and blunt a steel staff in her travels. She visits the mansions of the moon, the sun and the wind and even has a baby along the way.
With this picture I wasn’t so much trying to tell a story as fuse a variety of disparate elements in a way that would arouse the viewer's curiosity as to what was going on. The bundle of chicken bones, the knife, the baby, the bandages, the steel staff, the two pairs of metal shoes, all play important roles in the story.
The way the girl handles her predicament was what inspired me to do this piece in the first place, and getting her character right was also my biggest challenge.
I saw this image pretty clearly right from the start, and banged out a very quick thumbnail to capture it. I wanted to depict the girl striding along with a deliberate, unwavering gait, and a determined look on her face, yet no sign of weakness, fatigue or complaint. She is entirely unfazed by her situation.A strong female figure on a journey that changes her and her understanding of what love really is - tell me you don't want to go read it again right now!
The artist also gives a large-sized download link of the final image, which would be great to use for a desktop picture.
Mr. Beatrice has also illustrated quite a few other fairy tales (Peruonto, Snow White & Rose Red, Donkeyskin [this is a very unique portrayal - a must see!], The Frog King, Red Riding Hood, Faithful John, The Magic Jug [a wonderful Russian tale rarely illustrated], Jack the Giant Killer, The Donkey [male version of Donkeyskin without the same family issues], The White Bear [East O' the Sun], Sun Moon & Talia [one of the earliest Sleeping Beauty stories recorded], Porziella [The flea from Il Pentamerone], Joringel [and the witch], The Golden Fish - seriously awesome stuff!), which you can see in his portfolio HERE.