For the last three or four months I've been working through some pencil drawing course on sktchy Art School with tutor France Van Stone. France is a highly accomplished drawer as anyone who's got her book Sketch will know.
France has courses on pencil and iPad sketching with modules on beards, eyes, wrinkles, cross-hatching and even one where she uses both drawing on paper and on iPad as a useful comparison.
I've learned so much from these course about simplification of materials (just a couple of pencils and a sheet of copier paper is enough!), building volume, proportions within the face, and so much more. These courses are a reasonable price and of course you can come back to the video lessons over and over again.
There is also a useful community aspect to the school in that you can post your drawings and receive feedback from the tutor and other students.
OK, so the subject matter is a bit limited (portraits) but if that's what you want to learn about then sktchy Art School is a terrific resource. Anyway here are four of my fifty or so drawings which I've done in the last few weeks. They're all A4 size (about 8"x11") and are all done with just two pencils on mixed media paper. I'm reasonably happy with them but still have some way to go to.
A lot of pencil artists try to draw in a photo-realistic style, with incredibly smooth textures and a considerable amount of blending. I am pleased to say that France Van Stone likes to see the pencil marks and so do I. I see very little point in slavishly copying a photograph so that it looks like a photograph. Surely a work of art should bring something else to the table than "wow, that's just like a photo!".