I thought I’d pontificate a bit more about working (drawing, painting) from life, and express what it’s like (and why it’s important) on an emotional level.
Working from life (having a model sit in front of you) is “harder” (you have to be quicker, you have to transfer the 3-D model to the 2-D canvas or paper). But it’s also more real. There’s a connection with your model and your surroundings that isn’t there when you work from a photo.
I started drawing an eye, and then filled in the rest of the face from there. I really don’t recommend drawing portraits this way, since so often something gets crooked or wonky. This woman is drawn from my imagination and looks kind of sad. (Hmmm . . . is the drawing “sad,” as in, not very well done? Or do I mean that her expression is sad? Well, maybe both!)