Thanks for your replies, Rebeccak and mrdpoe.
I’ve been wandering around cyberspace looking for some tutorials and I found this one quite informative. It includes some good general advice, like the importance of being aware of how much pressure you apply to your pencil; applying shading evenly; and avoiding “rounding” shades or colours because you will flatten your image. Unfortunately, although very helpful, it’s still very general (except for a few tips about smudging tools.) I’m looking for more practical advice, such as how to hold the pencil - something that varies between individuals, I’m sure.
Another tutorial I stumbled upon was this one. It’s worth checking out for the image gallery alone. It’s astounding how very real these drawings look. This tutorial was a little better as far as offering practical advice goes, especially when it came to drawing equipment. I’ve become convinced I’m now slightly unequipped to draw well: I’m trying to use some HB pencils I found at the bottom of old pencil case for school. At the very least, it seems, I need some 2B pencils, a kneaded eraser and perhaps some blending stumps and/or tortillons. Any thoughts of the usefulness of each? Will I likely need to go to a special store to purchase these things, or would a stationary supplies shop suffice?
Finally, I found this tutorial which did tell me how to hold my pencil. Interestingly, this tutorial suggests you can use your finger to smudge - although it’s a little clumsy - while the previous tutorials warned against using fingers to smudge. Thoughts, anyone?
A technique suggested in this tutorial was to colour everything in a middle tone and use your eraser and pencil to achieve the lighter and darker tones respectively.