The adventure begins, I started creating the body using a cylinder primitive and adjusting the shape to the picture; I was changing between front and side views to adjust body correctly to pictures. To create arms and trousers I used the same method and I divided each shape in more or less divisions according to the size of the body part.
I tried to create arm, abs and back muscles thinking on animation process.
In order to create a symmetric character I only modelled the right part of the body, when I finish I only have to mirror it and join each part.
Right now I had to combine each part; I used Merge Vertex tool to merge every vertex between body and legs, body and arm too. As we can see in picture below there are some faces between parts joined, I just deleted them and we can see one part with a cavity.
Next, I followed with feet creation using a cube primitive and neck with another cylinder removing remaining faces.
At this point I had entire body; there are only hands, head and hair to model, the most difficult and detailed parts of my avatar.
I started with head and trying to not involve me in a complex topology by the moment, I added breast too with one half sphere.
Continue with joints because it is easier to animate and obtain realistic movements when we have a good body topology with correct edges on joints, so I added some edges on elbow and knee.
Following with hands I used cube primitives and only modeled one finger to duplicate the other four remaining and adjusting its sizes later. I spend time taking care on fingers joints because I want to move them correctly. Faces remaining were removed.
Next step, I realize a mirror of the shape with Mirror Geometry tool. Two shapes separated had to be joined so I used Merge tool on every vertex pair, you can see it on next picture.
I was finishing the character ^_^ I continue with face topology, I focused on mouth because she is a cartoon character and her eyes are simple. I tried to create good wrinkles on mouth zone.
Finally it was only hair remaining, what a joke! I think it is the most difficult part because it has a lot of peaks; I tried to model it as well as I could. The process was pyramid creation and combining each other removing additional faces. I added it a long ponytail, that the result, 349 faces ponytail with polygon primitives.
After good amount of hours I finished the avatar model containing all drawings elements, finally it has 1470 faces.
Looking other games characters I think it is a good number of polys because we can see GTA IV characters rounding 8000-10000 or in case of 2004 year game in GTA San Andreas with 2000 polys and 1200 polygons for NPCs.
So I think it could be improved in a future with better topology and detailed zones if the videogame engine allows it us. The pictures below shows the avatar 3D model finished.
Here you can download the Maya project: Avatar