I think a good strategy is to do an initial value study where you lay down the overall value relationships - and it sounds like you get that already in your work. When adding detail after that stage a key thing to consider is that everything you add conforms to your initial study. You don’t add or increase contrast with each added detail but keep within the parameters you’ve already set up for yourself in your earlier stage. This is hard to maintain and a lot of times its tempting to get lost in the modelling or detail phase and lose overall view of where it’s heading. But no individual thing you out on there should upset the balance you’ve set!
Hey! That’s a good question and one that’s not very easy to answer :) Here’s an approximation:
1. Use the largest possible brush to build up the whole image to a rough state. 2. Select ONE spot where you want to focus the image. 3. Add detail to only that particular area (sticking to this is the hard part). 4. If something doesn’t look or feel right, repeat from step 1.
I don’t always manage to stick to a process, the x factor is huge on why sometimes it works and other times things crash and burn. Hope this helps!