I’ll wrap this "maquette miniseries" with the best known kind—the character maquette. Whether the character is human or animal, exaggerated or realistic, animators and illustrators use maquettes to stay “on model” with a character even in weird angles or light situations.
I made this bust of the explorer Arthur Denison because I couldn't find a real person with exactly the features I was looking for. I used Sculpey modeling compound, which can be shaped like clay and then baked hard in the oven.
With a maquette in front of your drawing table, you can experiment hundreds of different combinations.
You can also accessorize the maquette with a hat, turban, or whatever. The head on the right is a simplified “plane head” that I sculpted based on the anatomy teacher George Bridgman’s analysis of form. The plane head helps me to see the head’s basic construction without getting distracted by the features. The head is mounted on a flexible metal tube from the hardware store, which allows you to tilt the head to any angle you want.
Here’s one of the paintings that used these maquettes for reference.