One of this week's exercises involves autumn leaves with color blending and shading. I think I got into trouble with the background. Just now looking at it makes me think of reducing the chroma. That might help... Time permitting, I'll get back to it later this week. For now, I need to get a jump on the next exercise, a pastel landscape.
First impression of the Verithins is that they are hard! I'd guess about 2H.
This image comes from October 2009 blog work. I'm realizing just what a great resource I have for starter material.