Just before the holidays a friend of mine at work was drawing the back muscles to help me understand how to draw them and afterwards he mentioned that I should hold my pencil like you would a piece of conte during life drawing. I (shamefully) haven't done life drawing for a couple of years and generally don't hold my pencils in that fashion.
So, while I was sketching the other day I decided to try and dust off the technique and I ended up with what you see above! I still have to practice rendering in this way but it was a lot of fun!
I'm going to keep doing rendered sketches like these to help me with my understanding and exploration of form, and I think it might also help me with future 3D sculpting in Zbrush and the like.
Happy New year :D
P.S. The above is an attempt at a new way of presenting my sketches, which I've sorely needed for a while. My girlfriend gave me some awesome Photoshop pointers but I've still manged to muck it up. You might notice some darker areas around the sketches which seem to be the result of my crapping masking job and possibly some compression artifacting. I'll try and clean it up when I get some time.