I took a fairly simple street scene and decided from the outset that my focus would be on the two central figures. If you look at the painting, the sharpest contrasts, darkest darks, lightest lights (white paper) and hardest edges are all in this area; that’s what attracts the eye.
I treated everything else as a backdrop to the main characters, simplifying detail or omitting it completely. Did it work? Let me know what you think!