Thank you @gregorya !
That's an excellent question! My process is an exploration, where I stay very zoomed out, I don't bother with staying in the lines, and I slap some approximate colors on the locked shape. All of it is in normal blending mode, I just glaze colors on until I find something that works. The point is to try to find the final colors until it looks palatable and worth refining.
I found some older screenshots of the progress to showcase this.
This is early in the exploration process, where I didnt even know she was going to have a green coat yet. I'm slapping basic colors and trying to find a mood and harmony.
An hour or two later, the result has more or less coalesced nearer to the final image:
Note that I still don't care about staying within the lines - that's final cleanup. However, through color adjustments like curves/color balance, and by glazing in new colors over the old ones, I've reached a point where I think the image works. The light and shadow, as soft as they are, are in place.
What's left is to zoom in, clean up the zones of color so they follow the lines, and add little details to the rendering. All the colors are already on canvas so I don't have to think much at this stage, I just color pick directly from the canvas, smooth out brush strokes, sharpen shape edges, blend and cut.
You can see the colors barely change between the final color exploration and the cleaned up final result! There's just a bit more contrast because I color adjusted the image at the end.
Hope this answers your question! The point is that I find my colors with a global approach, by being very free with my brush strokes at first and not caring too much initially about painting within the lines.