By taking color out of the picture plane, and instead relying solely on value gradation, (obvious) weaknesses pop out, there’s less distraction from the shortcomings of misdistribution of proportion, scale, and rendering basic anatomy in a readable manner.
That being said… the upside is that difficult compositions are repeatedly being tackled and carried out with a measure of progressive success. Blocking in has become a familiar activity. Finding and establishing the essential details is relatively intuitive. Laying in values is quickly becoming much less intimidating.
Generally speaking, despite not being at all content with what is coming off the boards, I am quite happy with the progress so far. The difference between what’s common place now when compared to this point last year, is a world apart.
Keep at it and keep challenging yourself….