working on freeing myself from the same materials i've always used, so moving to do some sketches on toned paper, and using that as a midtone, is just one way to do it.
also using white and black charcoal pencils to work against the grain of the paper. Should be interesting. Could be terrible. You'll have to let me know. My critical filter will be up, probably higher than yours.
A female head, study in contrasts, not bad, not great. Page 1 of this sketchbook.