I still think for a beginner, it can be very helpful to get some of the basics from a good intro book because it can help the student to get a sort of "framework" for approaching the print in some kind of logical and methodical way, and learn to think like the paper.

The problem with getting basic advice from all of us here is while it may all be good, it's all at least slightly different, and as I go back over this thread I find it fairly confusing from the perspective of a beginner who needs to start with the very basics.

I'm not suggesting one needs to read huge books. But going to the library and finding a copy of The Print from the old Time Life photo series would, in my opinion, be extremely helpful to any beginner starting to print either on graded or VC papers. Easy to read, and not very lengthy. Or, one could even begin with some of the easy-to-read, basic packages both Ilford and Kodak have available on their websites.

I've been kind of a broken record on this thread so I'll stop now....