This phase will take the longest, or it will seem like it. The most important thing is the foundation, the drawing.
If I don’t get this correct the rest of the painting will fail, or I will have to do a ton of work in oil just to get it back to where I want it. So I will obsess over the drawing for many days I’m sure.
On these paintings I use guides. I don’t trace, that is too much “cheating” for me. But I do cheat a bit with guides. I could freehand it and draw as normal but I don’t want to spend all the time on corrections. The goal is to get, at least the figure, almost exactly like I see it in the photo. There will be much time for artistic license when I cover the drawing with paint. And as I figured out on my last painting, the drawing will be redone over and over again while I’m painting anyway. I don’t feel the need to put myself through the trouble of correcting in pencil when I will be doing that all over again in paint. The purpose for this stage is a great foundation to start on.