Ok, so I don't know about you guys, but I've been trying to do studies from photographs and from life since February, so what little experience I have I thought that I should share. So I'll explain my method for doing a study. It may not work for you, but I think it works well for me
1. I don't know about you guys, but myself I have a couple of weak personality traits. I'm lazy, proud and a perfectionist to name a few. But someone once told me that even weaknesses can be strengths if you play your cards right. So for several when I have studied for exams, the very first thing that I did was to take an exam used a previous year and sit down and try my best at it. Since I'm lazy I almost always failed this first one, but since I'm proud I also got real angry with myself and studied hard for the real thing, and since I'm a perfectionist I almost always got the highest grade. Huzzah!
Now I've found that this method also works well for drawing studies, so I begin by sitting down and do an initial drawing. As you can see, I missed on everything from figure to proportions, but I didn't notice until I compared it with the reference (I don't show this step, but it's pretty simple: since I'm doing digital I just drag and dropped the reference photo onto my canvas and dropped its opacity until I could see both layers)
2.Ok, so I'm really angry at myself now, and this helps me focus. I do an extensive analysis of the reference, measuring angles and proportions carefully as I do my sketch. This time I'm also in awe of Kasey's piece above, and I'm determined to do something that's at least equally good, so I actually measure really carefully (like every line I drew I then redrew at least 20 times lol). Then I render the forms as carefully as I can. Having a good underdrawing helps, but I'm still super happy about how the torso turned out. In the end, after screwing up on the head and face several times I just made a note that I need to study head and face next week, as I have other stuff to do today (sadly, cause this was really fun), and at that point I hadn't started hands and feet either, so I had to make even more notes on stuff to study.
3. What's the point of doing your homework if you don't learn anything? as I just mentioned I was a little short on time, I'd like to do this step more properly later. But what I want to do here is to make a general approach, because let's face it; I couldn't do anything as nice as #2 without reference, and if we could get a ref photo of everything we wouldn't need to learn how to draw. Since this is a human body I try to use the simple mannequin approach from one of Loomis' books, but I don't think I nailed it from memory. Need to look that up too.
So yeah, that's that. Again, this is just the method I like to use, and if you have any suggestions on how I could improve it.. I'd be grateful yeah