I used the Clay and Clay Tubes brushes, along with the Standard brush with Alpha 43, alternating back and forth with the Smooth brush throughout the modeling process (Fig.03
On the next subdivision level, the process remained the same, but as I started to get more polys I had to refine the model. The secret is to never model just one area. You must pass through the entire model, then go back to the same area on the next subdivision and start the refinement all over again.
shows the fourth level of the figure. Now the polygon count was allowing me to add some more details, like on the feet and hands. The gesture of my model was little off at this stage, but I knew I could work on it later.
For me, the secret to a realistic hand is to mimic the interossous muscles of the hand (the palmar and dorsal interossal muscles). These muscles are those that are between your fingers, side by side (on both the palmar and dorsal sides). They create a very peculiar attachment relationship with the skin, which is crucial, and is shaped by the angle of the pose of the hand, because some skin tissue overlaps others finger by finger. You can check that out further by looking at an anatomical book or your own hand. The same works for the feet.
Fig.05 - 06
show the results of the modeling process with the gesture worked on a little bit more at level six subdivision (the modeling process was still the same, even using the same brushes defined at the start of this model). What made the modeling stay so clean was the way I added details and smoothed them with the Smooth brush.