shapemaster: Thank you very much for your suggestions! In my next studies I will try to focus on more on fluidity – as you have noticed, I still do not feel confident enough to experiment with the pencil as I should, and I think following your suggestion and not committing myself to the “paper”, or to the end result, might be a good way to start doing that.
I tried to merge both approaches – working on a longer, more finished drawing, and letting my lines flow–, in my first real attempt at a self-portrait. I say “real” attempt because this time I was not referencing from a photo. I was looking at myself on a mirror, and I realized that because of that (because one’s head doesn’t stand still, and because one either looks at oneself OR draws), I spent most of the time in fact looking at the paper and making constant use of my memory and of whatever knowledge of how shapes interact with light I have. There’s little to none likeness in the self-portrait (the cheeks are too bony, and so is the chin, the lips are not like that, the ears are too small, the eyes have something off about them…). In the end I think I failed badly at getting both a more finished drawing AND a fluid one (the fluidity in particular was sacrificed for the sake of construction), but I think I learned a lot during the process, especially with regard to perspective as applied to the forms of the face & features. And yet I can still see many perspective errors – the eyes don’t seem to follow the cylinder of the face properly, and the mouth doesn’t seem to sit nicely on the mouth cylinder either… I can see something is wrong, but I can’t quite get myself to make it right. Any suggestions on this , as well as any other critique, are, as always more than welcome.