It seems there are two ways to make a creative breakthrough. I am not specifically addressing monumental transformations here, but focusing on the idea and excitement behind any work that allows for rewarding (higher level) results. With regard to making a drawing/painting of merit, the following are two paths I see: First, one could make many examples in a more rapid mode and then choose those that perform in an optimum way (this requires some insight, knowledge, and goals). Secondly, One could layer their work in a way that piles decisions until the outcome fits an an expanded concept and vision of the original goal (this can take considerable time and effort).
The drawing above represents the first mode of working. After quickly making twenty portraits, the example above emerged as one of the best and the character also had a regal presence. He seemed born to be a chief that represents wisdom and restraint. Regarding the latter creative method, I am still working on layering creative decisions. I should have at least three works done when the lambs go out.