There are lots of things about creating characters for games and film that are creative and fun, retopology is usually not one of them. So, when I have to retopo, I try to make things go as quickly as possible.
For me, retopo is more simple when I think about it in two stages
1: Edge-flow first.
2: density and distribution of topology second.
I've found this really speeds things up when I separate these two ideas.
Below are some videos to show how I go about retopo in Maya. The base topology was retopoed in under 3 hours, and this shows the whole process from start to finish. Hopefully it helps atleast one person out there struggling with this technical nonsense.
The model I am using as a base for this tutorial is by Nick Zuccarello, and ships with Zbrush. You can check out Nick's amazing work on his instagram here:
Quick disclaimer -- this is the way I best know how to deal with this process today. I may know better ways to accomplish things tomorrow. So this is by no means the "right" way to do things, but it's a way the currently works well for me. If you have better ideas about how to approach this stuff, please share, as I have shared with you. :-) Be well.
More Coming Soon...