WOOHOO!! Finally a portrait that I actually completed, and that I'm actually relatively happy with! I actually worked on this one consistently and plowed through all the frustrating little details with patience...even learning to enjoy them!
What I tried differently:
1. Used only mechanical pencils (no sharpening because they always have a sharp point! They also have a smoother look I think!)
2. Just bought myself a white pen to add extra brightness to areas such as the highlights in the eyes! I feel like it's cheating a little bit, but having that bright white adds enough to the picture to be worth it!