I did fairly loose pencils first at a smaller size, then blew them up and reprinted them in order to ink. And when I say loose, I mean that the details and textures you see in the pages were almost nonexistent. After focusing on inking for like six years and then inking a graphic novel, I'm fairly confident with my own inking techniques and can leave a lot of the penciling pretty open--knowing that when I get there with a brush, I will be adding a lot.
Background proficiency is another thing that comes with a lot of practice and I still use a lot of photos for reference
Well, it might help that I don't ink over original pencils. I draw the pencils at a smaller scale and then change them to in the computer blue lines and then print them. So I'm essentially inking on blank paper with the lines printed on there just barely. When the inks are done and scanned, I take them back into Photoshop and tweak with the levels--a lot. Essentially, it's a lot of playing around with different adjustments until I think it looks just right. I am the Goldilocks of Photoshop.
You could just try switching to blue pencils. I use the Prismacolor Col-Erase brand blue. They erase well and are light enough to ink over the original pencils pretty easy. I don't have a lot of resources either, but it does help to have a large format scanner and really crappy paper to do pencils on so that I can save the nice paper for inks
I do love me some dry brush. It takes a long while to be able to use it comfortably... but when you do, there's all sorts of potential for both toning and for texture. This page was SUPER fun to do because epic landscapes completely lend themselves to brushwork.