For your homework you will be working on a toned paper. You may pick any brand or color you wish (These papers are extremely affordable, one sheet should cost you between $1-$3, Canson is a reliable brand). Minimum size is 18x24 although these are regularly 19x25. Here are some examples of charcoal drawings on toned papers. Notice the color of the paper drastically effects the end result.
You will also be deciding upon a landscape, since we live in the city it is probable that many of you will choose an urban landscape, keep in mind the keys to a successful composition and you will find great compositions everywhere all around you. There are many types of landscapes and I encourage you to do some research to find one that suits your interests.
Lastly many students struggle with rendering clouds. Anytime you are struggling with a visual problem it is helpful to find others who have dealt with a similar problem before. Here are some examples of cloudscape paintings by British Artist Ken Bushe. Click HERE to visit a gallery of his work.
Introduction to Painting/Drawing
Here are some examples of drawings in graphite that show a very full range of tones. Notice the number of tones between black and white in the image. Try to count to see how many you find. We always try to strive for ten distinct tones. We may never achieve ten tones but striving to achieve this number helps set the standard high, this is one of the secrets of drawing "realistically".