Here's a Swamp Oak leaf on Strathmore 500 Bristol Plate.
With this first shot I tried to portray as closely as possible my real viewing experience. It may be a bit on the light side but not exceedingly so. In the second shot I let Photoshop adjust the tones. I'm surprised how much detail I'd put in. Soo...I suppose this could be a matter of making use of the available tonal range. I've been reading that I should be practicing tonal scales and I have done a few over the past few months but haven't taken them very seriously. Perhaps I should... Also I might try some softer grades--I think I used only an HB and a 2H.
See, I think I'm afraid to go too dark but I don't know why. I think I'll try some smaller studies and work on a bolder tonal range.
By the way, I gained the outline of this leaf by laying it on the paper, closing one eye, and tracing without moving my head or the leaf. I've tried drawing leaves by eye with poor results and this method really got me there easily. I will continue to practice by eye but sometimes I feel like I just want to get to some shading and detail.