This is more about critique for my methods rather than any specific drawing. It's been said numerous times, don't just make marks on the paper but rather sculpt with the pencil and I'm trying to figure out how much that comparison (to sculpting) applies to drawing. I've been doing self portraits in the mirror and trying some different approaches. I'm not sure exactly what my question is about this so I'll just start posting some stuff and maybe it'll come to me.
I've tried doing line drawings of my face and it's difficult to tell if the features are set up properly because frankly a line drawing isn't going to look like my real face, it'll always look a bit more on the cartoon side. Well maybe until I get really good at drawing. So that's my trouble with this approach is it's hard to tell if it's accurate so when I end up shading the form it comes out looking wrong.
So the other approach I've tried is NOT line drawing the whole head before rendering, but rather just pick a spot in the face and render my way out until the whole head is done.
The results are that the features are pretty wonky because I didn't plan the whole head out first (which I was doing originally with the line drawings.)
My next and current WIP was with the thought of "sculpting with the pencil" taken a little more literally. It's similar to the above two drawings except I took more care with the rendering and I tried to think more of "pushing and pulling" clay (or in this case form) by adding/subtracting shadows and light. The result is currently that the eye is pretty nicely rendered, but wherever I go with it next ends up looking wrong because I'm having trouble judging the placement of any other features (since I haven't drawn the whole head from the start.)
It's like it's easier to compare to my face than the line drawings were but it's harder to keep drawing 'cause it's all guess work as far as placing the features and stuff.
I feel I should also note I've tried "constructing" the head in basic 3D shapes first like the Loomis approach, and for imaginary drawings of people it seems to work okay but when I try to use it for my own head (striving for accuracy) it seems to be lacking (or else I just suck at it.) and I can't seem to turn the "sphere + jaw-line" into a form that matches my own head. Not to mention it's very difficult to start drawing a face over top of a transparent 2 dimensional "sphere" shape because there isn't actually a "surface" to sculpt the face into as there would be with clay. On paper the sphere's surface is just an illusion.
SO! That was a lot to read. Sorry. I guess my questions are, have any of my approaches been good/bad? Is there anything else you recommend I try? Is the answer simply: "Drawing faces is freaking hard and you should just keep playing with it until you start to figure it out", and/or "Any method is fine so long as it gets you the end results you seek"?
Thank you in advance for your time if you actually read all this and respond. In the meantime I will continue trying to finish the last image with the eye. If you want, here's a photo of what I'm kind of seeing in the mirror. I've lit myself up with one lamp off to the side. Edit: Plus monitor light from the other side.