After finishing most of the facial features, I started feeling like the reason for attempting this portrait had been met. Well... not completely. Honestly, the darks could take a little more pushing. Maybe my impatience was being driven by the fact that the hair felt like such a monumental task spread out before me. I really wanted the hair to present itself as though it had a little less planning to it. My professor/mentor in college use to push at me constantly to let go and be more free handed. I am sure there were several occasions when she would have loved to smack me upside the head, especially since she had a daughter that was just like me. ;) In her honor, I started to free hand the hair. Here is a photo that gives you a glimpse into the different levels of shading. The hair is beginning to take shape. I think that it is time to let the softer leads take over in the more developed areas.
Even though the progress on this composition makes me more positive about doing portraits, I might throw this drawing into one of my artist forums to be critiqued. There is nothing like criticism to make an artist grow.