I hope your son continues with pastels, Jaydee. They are a wonderful medium to work in, tricky, but wonderful.
I tend to vary how I work depending on the piece I'm doing. I generally work in my base layers until the piece is covered and recognisable, then put in the detail. For fur work, I will usually go left to right to avoid smudging, but sometimes the layout of a subject won't allow for that, so I work in sections.
Interesting that your son's work is being knocked. I had the opposite problem at school - granted it was a number of tears ago! - my teachers did not like that I worked from reality and enjoyed portraying photo realism rather than imaginative 'arty' work.
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