This is the large shape of your objects. There are several ways to do this, depending on what you are drawing. You can see that here, I just put down the large shape all the fruit kind of made. Because I'm working small, I like doing it this way.
If I were working larger, I would first give myself a margin all the way around the painting. Then I would put down a gesture, before putting down this large shape. I wouldn't have the gesture forming the outside contours of the objects, but focus more on their center placement. More like a constellation than anything.
And the toned ground. Normally I tone with raw sienna, but right now I've been using a lot of shellacked illustration and mat board. The shellac I use is amber colored, and the mat board I use is all sorts of colors. This gives me a fairly wide range from a nice pale amber to /really, really, really/ almost black dark. This was amber on top of a dark orange, so it's darker than even I'm used to. But it was next in the pile.
After this comes
Step 3: Psudo Giacometti and Contour
Step 5: Add some lights