NEVER, EVER smudge with a pencil! The beauty of pencil art lies in the lines. You build up a masterpiece with line on line, using only the tip of a very soft (8 or 9B), always sharp pencil. Keep a good artist's pencil sharpener handy. The lines must always be very light at first, giving way to darker and darker strokes as the work builds up intensity. It is a hard and demanding discipline - not for the impatient. To avoid initial frustration it's best to work with an expert first. It's a simple, elegant tool tool that gives the illusion of being easy to handle. Given the wrong approach the work can come out wishy-washy and weak, or crude, hard and muddy looking. It can be a very frustrating experience to accomplish beautiful, elegant pencil art without professional help. A perfect pencil portrait should be as light and elegant (and delicious looking) as a crepe suzette! Always use quality paper for your pencil work. A good pencil sketch pad will be best for a beginner. Make sure you sign and date each effort, so that you can mark your progress. Be patient, and practice every day. Have a professional teach you how to hold and move the pencil for maximum effect. Perhaps the initial experience may not be much fun; but if you persevere through the failures and frustrations it will one day become pure joy to dance with your pencil like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!