I tried this method with another painting last year and was met with a good deal of frustration. This time, however, I am beginning to see just how useful each step of the process can be.
The charcoal sketch helps you very quickly get a sense (albeit a black and white one) of what the final painting will "look" like. In other paintings I've done in the past, the process has felt more like I'm wandering through it, hoping that the finished project will turn out good enough in the end. The color sketch has more or less the same value. You can forego getting the drawing just right and concentrate on what the values should be and what the painting will more or less look like in the end. I found a really cool blog that describes the merits of using a thorough method.
I feel like my art is in it's toddler phase of development: slightly out of infancy, starting to walk but recklessly trying everything, shoving things into its mouth, stumbling and hurting itself (you get the idea).
I also had to do a little cleaning up after I found our little rascal, walking out of the front room with black fingers.
Stay tuned for the next installment!