FC has found the light and his true calling.
I'm inept at subtle shadowing. Drawing from life could help with that I suppose. Maybe I'll pay someone to sit for me sometime. Not much. $50 for 3 hours of posing and taking breaks while paint dries.@Light Housework I think your self portrait was your best work but there is something happening with your technique that seems like you're getting more comfortable getting the paint to do what you want.
There are two things happening. One is the paint and I think the more you work with it the better you will get. The other is the drawing. Because you were working from a photo for your self portrait instead of your imagination I think it has something more distinctly "you."
So one part is handling the paint. The other part is drawing something you see. It's okay to draw from your imagination or from memory but drawing things you see will also give you skills to draw from your imagination.
I know you want to paint people you've known and that you might not have photos to work from but also practice your drawing and if possible get someone to sit for you so you can do some sketches from life. Painting or drawing someone sitting in front of you is different than working from photos and will make you better.
I like the process of painting too and seeing the stages. It's cool that you show the works in progress. That would be good for your youtube channel. But I also like it when I look at a painting and see the process, such as seeing pencil drawing in places where the paint hasn't hidden it.
This one shows some sketching that was done before paint was applied. Some people do ink and watercolor, too. I think the line under her right arm is pencil and then you can see other lines that are thicker and colored that are drawn with a paintbrush.
This is just a random one I found googling "watercolor pencil drawing from life."