So, I was really keen to work on a non-caucasian skin tone AND eye shape, so here we are! I toned the paper first and "built" the portrait on top (with some erasing). As I was working, I realized that my pencil arsenal did not have the range to get the deep darks I wanted (sorry, 4B).
So, what did I do? I gingerly grabbed a sharpie and filled in the iris and pupil. Then, I got a black Bic pen and enhanced the skin folds - it gave a nice depth of tone that wasn't as bold as the sharpie, but darker than the pencils. At the end, I REALLY pressed my luck and used Sharpie veeeeeery lightly in the upper eye creases and the corners of the eye.
So, what do you think? I'm calling it a great first try... for now. :)