1. Have a concept. I know that modelling is fun, but starting without a concept is like setting sail's without a map. You need to know what you are modelling in order to actually model something useful. Make a fun project out of it and draw a character. It does not have to be perfect it is just to get an idea of what your goal is.
2. Do your research. The human brain is fantastic but it cannot remember all the details of for example a head. So having reference pictures is crucial. Also if you are modelling a cartoony character.
3. K.I.S.S. "Keep it simple, stupid!" It is very easy when you are working to keep on adding edgeloops. This is a trap and it will ruin your model. So keep it simple, have as few edgeloops as possible. I see a lot of beginners loosing track of their model because they just keep on adding edgeloops.
4. Make a nice flow. A nice flow relates to doing your research. You want to have a nice edge flow in your character, especially the head. The edgeloops should be placed where the muscles in the face are placed. A great way to secure that is by drawing the visible lines in the face before modelling.
5. Looking forward. When you are modelling try to look forward. For example; the arms will in most cases bend, this means around the elbow you want at least 3 edgeloops to make a nice deformation. The same thing goes for the mouth. You want edgeloops around the mouth so it can deform correctly.
6. Check your concept. Check your reference regular while modelling, to see if your 3D model fits the reference. You will be working on same models for a long time. In the mix your 3D model can unfortunately change shape so it does not look like the concept anymore.
7. Naming your stuff. We have all been there. We look in a scene and everything is called final final something. This is not a good solution. A good solution is to call your models what they are. For example I would call the left hand of my character: hand_L_01_GEO. It is pretty simple. GEO is added because it is geometry. If it is a joint I would add JNT.
8. Keeping it in squares. Your model should only consist of square polygons. This means no triangles or faces with more than 4 sides. This is hard to learn because you will be fiddling around with triangles. It feels like an unsolvable puzzle. But you will get better and faster. It is one of the most important parts in 3D modelling. If your model has triangles if will deform badly.
Now that you know this I will recommend that you check out my website. My site provides free tutorials, Articles and news. It is a community based on sharing. You will find it at:
Happy modelling :)