You use light to setup a mood beautifully. Something about your drawings remind me of Daumier's, you might want to check him out, why because he has caught many moods and expressions using light pushing the viewer to complete the form . His work might be of interest to you. As I look through your drawing I see improvement you're adapting well. It was nice to visit here.
cquinn, thanks- I use 4b sometimes, but have been stopping at 2b, and using hb, 2h, and 6h. The brand of pencil matters a lot, as no brand is the same, one 2h isn't the same as another 2h from a different brand. To blend, I use a paper stump, and a rag. I also use water from time to time to mix up the mark making, and I make sure to erase quit often to build form back and forth.