A few days ago I’ve read an interesting interview with a professional concept artist and at the very end he advised all beginners to always keep the whole picture in mind and to work on all its parts simultaneously. This reminded me of my nude study classes 😀 The reason is that a lot of the other students there tend to start drawing a line and then keep following it without making the effort to construct the humans. This approach could work for some but generally is a risky endeavor! In most cases you end up with wrong proportions or, if you’re coloring, with mismatching color combinations and/or values. Additionally you miss to train your image construction skills which can be very useful when drawing without reference (you cannot follow a visible line there!).
From my own experience I can support this thesis but I have to admit that after a lot of training one does get better and better in drawing a reasonable amount of outlines without construction. But whenever more than one object is involved it’s really best to rough everything out and see how the composition and proportions work out. Giving this phase enough space can save you a lot of trouble later on. It’s a lot easier to change proportions in an early stage than when you’re almost done (if it’s possible at all).
So to sum up my tip of the week in one sentence: Constructing your drawing’s objects simultaneously gives you greater control over the outcome and spares you a lot of headache later on!