I was faced with the same challenge a few years ago. I go along with what everyone above has said, however, perhaps I’m still more an engineer than an artist (though I hope I am getting there) and looking at the problem in that light, I just figured out the fastest way to get there (which still took a long time).
First, how well did my efforts turn out? Please go to my site (URL in signature) and note the girl in the main graphic image – this is NOT a model – this is my daughter. My efforts to model her can be found at:http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?s=&am...ost&p=86041
(she looks much better animated LOL)
How I got there: First I studied a lot of tuts and books on modeling a realistic face. Then, I purchased Bill Young’s video tutorial on how to model a face from Anzovin Studios (www.anzovin.com) and this is what really got me there. I highly recommend it.
For the texturing part, again, I studied every book and tut I could find (Bill did not have a video tut on this subject). I documented my efforts in a rather long and detailed tutorial. The link for this is posted somewhere around this post (which also plugs my tutorial):http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?s=&am...ost&p=72386
Or, just go to my site and go to 'Gallery'; the link is at the bottom.
I hope this helps and good luck!