A self portrait sketch of Ilya Repin, and my drawing process of the portrait.
I start with a loose and faint block in of the major forms and shadows, almost like a sculptor would with a piece of clay. Things can be moved around at this stage so I draw fairly light and the features are generalized.
Also my lines are pretty straight; I leave the curves till the end.
Then I start drawing in the facial features and mapping the shadows. I generally start from the inside out, so I draw the nose and reference the rest of the features from the middle area, almost like an anchor point.
My lines are still pretty straight at this point. Reason being is because I don’t want to get bogged down in detail with the curves of the features. Instead, I want to establish the general relations of the features.
Then finally once the general placements of the features are established and I’m happy with the proportions of things, I start the detailing stage. Establishing a good scaffold as your drawing is key, before you start adding detail.
Focus on the early stages of your drawing but stay loose at the same time. Your drawing should be fairly accurate in its proportions and placements before you get into detailing the drawing
Without a good foundation, no amount of detail will save the drawing.