This is the initial sketch. When drawing from reference photos I tend to look for and lean in toward a few things to keep it interesting and not just a simple portrait.

1. The entire head:

sounds silly but you’d be amazed at how often I receive a commission request and the subject has a missing top or part of their face cut off.

2. Body: this is another one that can really make or break your composition as a whole. Depending on what’s in frame you the overall piece may look awkward or splendid.

3. A dynamic pose.

now this should be common sense but a dynamic pose is something I myself really gravitate to.
The first wash:

Through my journey of the watercolor YouTube vortex everyone recommends always to:

1. Have enough paint mixed up and ready for the portion you’re working one

2. cover the Areas that require that color at once.

this allows for a cohesive value during the process.
I tend to always start with the skin. In this I started with my typical process using a watered down light base layer for her skin of Hansa Yellow Light. leaving the highlighted areas of the body white.

the hair was done in the same fashion with a light Burnt Umber wash.
a light Cobalt Blue for the shirt and jeans. I let that dry a little and went back in with the same mix to add in some lines of the fabric. 
Deeping Values

Going back to the skin I mixed in some Mayan Orange to begin developing the darker values of the skin.

as you can see this method is a very simple approach to develop a light Caucasian skin tone.
For years I used to approach skin attempting to develop the flesh tone all in one mix leading to muddy colors, way too many swatches etc. It wasn’t till a dear friend and girlfriend at the time Esi who was taking art classes in university had mentioned it and it’s been a method I use to this day.

I basically used thicker mixes for the remainder of the previously mentioned sections except for the hair.

The hair I added in a mix of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Siena. I am not the biggest fan of adding direct blacks to a piece. Black is a very unnatural color in the world. We perceive the darkest darks as black but I feel adding it can either make your composition muddy or loose the cohesion depending on the style you are going for.

The glasses are a basic mix of Mayan Orange and New gamboge.

Overall I’m decently happy with this.