Here I go! The background will be darker on the left than on the right due to the light source. I am trying to keep the foliage relatively muted; although, I think it comes across slightly Art Deco. That is probably due to the abstract shapes. This drawing will be kept simple using a 2b mechanical pencil. (I don't want to get to complicated on the first project. One has to break back in easy!) I have never used this kind of pencil or lead before but am very happy with the variation of light to dark. The blending is done with tortillions and lighter tones are pulled out with a kneaded eraser.
The Bristol board is interesting to work on and makes blending so much easier. (Although, it does put me in mind of posterboard!) In the long ago past, I felt more comfortable with colored papers and had to put my highlights in. But unfortunately, most of those papers did not take well to erasing the medium tones. I do like the feeling of putting my highlights back in with a kneaded eraser. I have a click eraser that will probably be more handy on sketching in the finer lines.
I purchased some archival drafting tape to boarder my drawing with. I am so smudge scared it is not funny; however, I'm thinking a mat will probably run right up to the work. Backgrounds were never incorporated much into past drawings, so this is a relatively new experience. But with the boarder being added and the type of tape being trusted not to damage my paper, I must say the blending of the edge is sure easier by doing this!
I was looking in my art catalog at powdered graphite and wonder if that would make for a smoother background. Of course, a little pencil built up on paper could be rubbed off with a tissue and swirled onto the background. I just don't think it would apply here due to the depth of the tones needed in the big spaces. (Sorry! Thinking out loud zone!) This will be my hard copy of reference notes for future illustrations. Back to the drafting table for now...