Another example of comparative overkill on a cartoon: As of late I'm frequently alternating between really simple panel design (in other words, more of a traditional cartoon as far as detailed rendering) and then switching it up to a relatively complicated composition for the next one in the cue. Think of it as a sort of artistic version of doing reps, plus it's always good to have some pieces on the proverbial drawing board that require a modicum of discipline to complete.
In other words, slogging through the process when one becomes too attuned with banging out a panel in a single sitting: there's often a tightrope between ease and complacency versus frustration that it's taking too long or maybe is just too hard. In that way I tend to have a lot of empathy with my Beginning Drawing students, who confront and surmount such challenges with assigned work, and I always make sure to relate this perspective during a critique (whether one with what's up on a wall or the the more insidious inner ones with the committee.
Compare and contrast with a recent piece - "Got It" - that integrated the context of clutter as it was more central to the point the gag, as opposed to an environment, or basically a stage full of supporting props. Which are all made up: usually I don't use any photo-reference, just rely on imagination as to what a frontier mercantile would look like maybe based on latent, residual memory from pictures and/or movies.
Sometimes the longer I spend on such elaborate concoctions the more I really wonder what exactly is it that I'm doing and why. Especially when they're a little weird. And then I stop and think about all the pioneer beard trappers of yore, and how important it is to honor a small slice of history - one pelt in a patchwork of Alaskana.