The drawing here is the beginning of a bobcat. I'm using smooth bristol paper with charcoal and using what I've been calling "the indent method" to an extreme. I'm quite pleased with how it started out, but unfortunately, I really messed up those whiskers over the eyes so I'll have to start over. This was gearing up to be my best work yet, but I just couldn't fix them. I tried a new technique and it didn't work. What can I say. That's how you get better, by taking chances and making mistakes.
So what did I do? I used an empty mechanical pencil to indent the paper where the whiskers will go. Usually, the charcoal glides over it leaving the indent white (my next drawing tip will be a detailed explanation of this technique). Instead, I decided to use a chamois with charcoal dust on it to dab charcoal onto the paper and get an interesting background texture. Well, the indents must not have been very clean, because the charcoal and even some chamois fibers got stuck in them. No amount of erasing and reindenting and redoing could correct it. I'm just glad I didn't do more of the cat before starting the background, or I might have lost a lot more time.