I would advise to mastering basic printing first. Split grade printing can be very time consuming and takes a lot of experience to get right. I think using 8 x 10 size sheets is a good start and stick with RC paper, you'll find that you will produce more work in a shorter time. If you know a printer it would be worth your time to visit him bringing your results with you. There is nothing like a person to person chat when starting out. There are no shortcuts to gaining experience in the darkroom.