Copy! Copy as much as you can! You're not going to learn anything from relying on your memory. If anything, you'll just reinforce bad habits that you already have. The great thing about copying someone else's work is that it forces you to get out of your own head and try to think like another artist, which will help you to grow and learn new techniques.
Meh, this is just sketchbook paper from a book I picked up at Walgreens. When I'm feeling picky about my paper, though, I either go with Strathmore Bristol (the thickest they've got) or illustration board. PITT pens work well with either of those.