I'm working on a program that will require a lot of flat styled vectored images. I'm very comfortable with Photoshop but fall short in the artistic department. I've been practicing and am happy with many of my results, but the designs take me days to complete. The issue I keep running into is "seeing" the highlights and shadows on objects while still seeing the big picture at the same time.
I'm looking for a way to get the image as close as possible to the desired final result in Photoshop before working on vectoring the entire design so I can have a reference for the shadows, highlights, and color changes. I've tried using the Cutout filter to achieve this but it usually just adds to the struggle when vectoring.
How can I edit an image in Photoshop so that I can quickly create a vector from it?
For example, here's an image I used for practice and the final vectored result.