=O I definitely see what you are saying! It also doesn't help that the white of the shirt becomes very glaringly white in contrast with the value of the face, ne? Once my spring break (truly) starts, I want to do a portrait of L with a different approach. Thank you for commenting~
Don't worry, I'm not totally proficient at Photoshop yet either xD
This (along with most of my black and white pictures) is actually drawn using one of the basic brushes with a soft edge, (not the super fluffy brush that has no hard edges whatsoever!) and the opacity is turned down to about 80 ish. I started off with a black blob (no really, black circles to represent head, shoulders, knees, etc xD), and then adding lighter values as I go along ^-^ As for background, I just use random texture that I find from brushes on DA or brushes that came with photoshop xD.
There is a lot of experimenting that went in this piece, so definitely tinker around and see what works for you~! A really good tip that someone mentioned was definitely try mastering the basic brushes that come with photoshop first ^-^ It really helped me out