Create a field of gray - Vine Charcoal:
Break off a small section and use the broad side to cover your entire page. Blend with a paper towel or soft cloth. Repeat until you've achieved the desired gray (I like to get my paper to a medium gray, but you can go all the way to black if you prefer).
Sketch out your still life - Vine Charcoal:
Erase mistakes easily by blending them back to gray using a paper towel.
Steps 3 to 6 are interchangeable - they can be done in any order and repeated as often as needed.
Draw Shadows - Vine and Compressed Charcoal:
At the beginning stages stick to the vine and the hard (lighter) compressed charcoal. Introduce the softer (darker) compressed charcoal in the final stages of your drawing to represent the darkest parts of your still life.
Blend Values - paper towel, fingertips or blending stump:
Create gradual gradations and soften values. If you don't want to get your hands dirty use a paper towel, soft cloth or blending stump instead of your fingertips - or wear powder free surgical gloves.
Draw Lights - Kneaded Eraser:
Reveal some of the white paper using this soft, pliable gray eraser to to represent the lighter areas of your still life.
Draw Highlights - Gum & White Erasers:
Use the harder erasers to find the lightest lights & highlights.
Draw Details: Once you have your basic values blended you can draw the details right on top.
Spray fixative on your drawing (Optional): This keeps your drawing from smudging once it's completed. Buy spray fixative at any art store. If you want to store your drawing so that you can work on it over time use a "workable" spray fixative.
IMPORTANT! You must take your drawing OUTSIDE for this step. Avoid breathing the hazardous spray. Read the warning label and follow directions.