Above: Pencil and gouache sketch in a journal I made with Nideggen. Before painting over the sketch I took a photo of the pencil sketch. A print of that sketch (shot in poor lighting, but the pencil lines are what was important to me) was printed out the next day and stuck onto the page. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Repetition always helps in practice, but it has to be intelligent repetition, based on observed characteristics and actions that can be adjusted and varied for improvement.
I often scan experiments I'm making at various stages of the process so that I can replicate process steps, or so that I can keep track of where a process goes awry.
With the fantasy people sketches that I've been making in the past few weeks once I lay that paint on and start smearing it around the underlying pencil sketch also gets smeared. I decided to take a photo of this one to retain so that I could better analyze not only the process, but the results.
I'm not wholly convinced that sketching in pencil is going to work for me long term. I'm pretty much an ink person. But there are some characteristics of pencil and paint that I like, so I'll keep playing with it for now.
This type of before and after helps me assess how much I lose or keep the original sketch through the painting process. It will help me decide if I need as much detail as I've put in here, or if I need more.
In this way I can keep moving towards an approach that I can actually say works or doesn't work for me.
I'm not encouraging you to become obsessive about your process, but I do think that there are times when a few intermediate photos (or scans) of the process as you move through it will help your post process accessment. Give it a try. Be sure to label any digital files with a simple A, B, C, etc. attached to the title so that you know the exact order—over time you might be confused when things aren't as straightforward as with or without paint in this circumstance.