The "final" face is really stiff and plastic, I think that you should stick with the style from the sketchy-part, even though as you explained that it's only the first step. Sometimes we have to go back on what we are doing and try to learn things from the base or just see that sometimes something may be better at an early stage = u =
To make it simple. The first panel is a quick rough wherein I don't focus on the details yet but mostly the positions and the direction of the composition. Face wise, it is only meant to give me a rough idea where the eyes, nose and mouth would be placed. The 2nd is just a very quick color study. The sudden change of the face (3rd panel onwards)is when I started refining/fixing that part.
Therefore the face on the first 2 panels may look ok but the fact is it still very rough but not that easily noticeable since it is done in low resolution.
Well, from my perspective it's a totally different person. The eyes are further apart, the lips are smaller. Clearly the first character is far younger than the final piece. Even the breasts change. In fact the lighting changes as well.
Still it's a fascinating process, thanks for sharing.
That is common for most of my works unless I make a clean outline art first as a base. I tend to make a really loose rough (sometimes just blobs of paint) and build it as I go and fix stuff along the way.
The first step is also done in just a few minutes, so I can make a lot of thumbs to show to the client for approval. So I don't really invest a lot of time on that.