Excellent post. I m thoroughly enjoying your work and much more appreciate seeing them with your process in mind. You see the image as a whole composition. Working out your value scheme at the inception. It is such a free way to attack a design immediately entering into color as well. With my long experience in sketching figures from life as its own end, not in any relative space, I'm finding it is quite an effort to think this way.
Truly appreciate when talented and smart approaches are shared because it clarifies a step that may have been holding someone back without knowing what that hold-up was.