My niece, Zohar, just had her 4th birthday. The reference image had no flowers, I added them myself. This time I forced myself to use the darkest pencils Size is A4, used pencils: 2H to 8B Time: about 30 hours overall
This is a beautiful portrait of a beautiful little girl!
I'm afraid of the dark pencils too - to get more comfortable with them, sometimes I print out a photo of my drawings and practice on that before adding more darks to the original. Might be something to try! Stronger shadow areas on her face would definitely make this pop and make it even more gorgeous!