If your using pencil, don't smudge, it looks fucking awful and muddy as all hell; I'd say the best (albeit most tedious) shading technique with pencil is to use the lightest amount of pressure you can apply, and make very small circular/elliptical motions over and over to build up to the desired value, when you start getting really comfortable and a bit skilled doing it, it produces very silky smooth gradations, and provides a higher degree of control of the values.
But that technique alone will only get you so far, you need to practice and study light, form, and value for it to start looking good.
Just know the about values: never use solid black or the white of the paper unless absolutely necessary, generally, nothing your shading should be as white the paper unless it's a specular highlight, or a light source. I'm not exactly a pro myself (at all) but I've been shading for a while and it's one of the things I'm the most anal about when drawing.
Also try to preserve the tooth integrity of your paper as best as you can. Because there's no worse feeling than rendering for an hour just to reach a part of the paper that doesn't want to cooperate, so you end up just making do with that one shitty spot staring you in face.
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