I get many questions about the materials I use for graphite drawings so I put together this list.
But be aware as long as you use good quality materials you should not be too concerned about the right materials. Just experiment a lot to find the materials which you like and which give you the results you want.
I used to draw on Canson Mi-teintes paper (the smoother backside) but now I draw more on Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchpad. But I am still trying a lot of new papers. I prefer using papers with at least a bit of texture or "tooth". I am not fond of ultra smooth paper. Often I see people using printer paper -that is not good for a serious drawing.
I draw with Faber-Castell pencils (Serie 9000), standard wooden pencils, using more or less all grades that are available (5H to 8B). Graphite is always grey, even the softest pencil, so I use a black color pencil or the 8B pencil by Staedtler (which claims to be graphite but it is mixed with something) to draw the darkest areas. I am using this not for dark backgrounds though. Charcoal will not stick on graphite, so I do not use it. But the other way around (graphite over charcoal) works, so you might want to try that although I am not doing it.
When drawing on white paper, I draw with an eraser to get the lighter parts and highlights. Tools here are a kneadable eraser, an eraser pencil by Faber-Castell (7056) and an eraser pencil by Tombow (Mono Zero).
On toned, darker paper I use a white Charcoal pencil (General's) for the highlights and lights. Instead of the that you can also use white pastel or white colored pencil.
For blending I use ordinary tissues and blending stumps. I have not tried brushes for blending but you might want to try them.