Ok. I've put this off for a long time, so I've finally decided to sit down and write a tutorial on modeling. After going through tutorial after tutorial on modeling in poly's/sub-d's, I've come up with a workflow that works very well for me and hopefully you too. My co-workers jokingly call it "the Dave Way".
First off you should have a side
view of the object (sometimes top too, but I don't need one in this case because most of my detail can be defined in the front and side). When creating these pictures it's a good idea to use graphpaper so that you can make sure your detail is lined up horizontally.
Once your pictures are drawn, scan them in and save them as jpegs (it's a good Idea to make them no larger than 400 pixels wide. The larger your images are, the more memory they will take up and it will slow your progress). Then create a project directory in maya and save your images in your source images folder.
The next thing you're going to want to do is create 2 planes. One facing the front view and one facing the side view. Create a material for each of your drawings and assign them to the appropriate plane. Turn the transparency of the materials down to about .5, then assign the 2 planes to a layer. Assigning them to a layer will allow you to do 2 things...
1.) it will allow you to reference the planes so that you don't accidentally select them while you are modeling
2.) it will allow you to make them visible and invisible at the click of a button.
Once you have all that out of the way, you are ready to start modeling.
Using your create polygon tool (located under polygons>create polygon tool), draw a silhouette outline of your picture in the side view. If you misplace a point while placing them down you can always hit the backspace key to undo the point or press the insert key to edit its placement.
After you've created your polygon silhouette, the next thing you're going to want to do is subdivide it using your split polygon tool (located under edit polygons>split polygon tool). The trick to keep in mind here is to follow the contours of your drawing while keeping the amount of subdivisions down to a minimum. The more subdivisions you put in on this step, the more points you will have to move in the future. Keeping your subdivisions low while placing them in points of detail will make your modeling go much smoother.
1.) Start out by creating the contour that defines your eye and cheek bone. You should end it off at the bottom of the chin.
2.) Then create a split in the opposite direction that begins on the ridge of the nose, goes through the center of the eye, and ends in the back of the head.
3.) Now is probably a good time to define the jaw line. Take this split up through the top of the head. When placing your splits, try and stay half-way between the two outer edges (this will create a cleaner mesh in the end).
4.) Next, define the line where the mouth will be. Then bring it to the back of the head (notice how I'm placing my edges half-way between the outer edges).
5.) Then split up the top of the head a little by drawing an edge from front to back.
6.) Define the lower edge of the brow by running an edge from front to back.
7.) Next define the snout by running an edge from the nose to the bottom of the jaw.
8.) Break up the neck a little by running an edge half-way between your two outer edges.
9.) Next, define the outer radial of your mouth by creating an edge that meets with the corner of the mouth.
10.) Finally... split up your mesh a little more so that you have even spacing between your edges..