I never premix anything unless i need a specific color for a large area. I do a lot of glazing but the highlights here are Batic Green and Parchment on JC's skin and Sap Green and Light Blue Permanent on the Thark. Gold highlights are Bronze Yellow and Light Blue Permanent. Cloaks are Burgundy and Medium Magenta. I never went darker than Burnt Umber on the figures except around JC's face and hair.
I wing so much of this stuff. I have a general idea in my head but chose which blue or green I used based on what I had on the board after the rendering stage. I get confused a lot half way through but I enjoy figuring it out. I really should plan it out more but I'm too impatient with too short an attention span. I'm often surprised by the final result. LOL
I've mentioned to some other illustrators how lost I get with my paintings as well. I usually keep the cool/warm balance thing as my guide but if I'm working with multiple figures and multiple lightsources on varying colors...man...my mind just gets exhausted.
Being happily surprised by the final result would be nice. Though I have to do a bit more planning like a color rough before I can even map out my color approach.
I collect images, photos mostly of palettes I'd like to work in so as not to get so comfortable with one approach. That's why I respect a lot of the older illustrators who could just recreate some of the wildest lighting conditions. I mean...guys like Robert McGuiness and Bob Peak who just call up some crazy color combination and work within that...hell even you've done it a few times in some of the Vampirella pages I've seen if memory serves me. Even Alex Ross seems to push those boundaries quite a bit with a great understanding of how to make them work.
All the markings of consummate professionals...even if you guys still get lucky!
I would LOVE to have the balls that those guys in the 60's had. I do the same thing as far as color ref. I have hundreds of PB cover tear sheets, binder after binder of art cards and two 4 drawer file cabinets fiiled with stuff, not to copy, but to help if I get stuck on a color scheme. I'm amazed at some of the combos those guys came up with. Anything went, it seems, but they made it work.
This site is great also if you're trying to decide on a palette;