Anywho, I wanted to share what you needed to get started if you wanted to just wanted to try a few stitches before you really delved into making book or dvd purchases or taking classes. And of course, you can always email me at (mothersmocker at gmail dot com). :)
Basic smocking supplies are pleated fabric, needle (a #7 darner, specifically), thread, and a basic knowledge of different smocking stitiches. This is just the bare minimum to get you started in geometric smocking (which you need to master before moving to picture smocking.)
You can have most any fabric pleated. You can also buy "sample" pleated fabric from most local smocking stores. If you aren't near a smocking store, I have listed some samples in my new Etsy store.
You can buy darners from stores like JoAnn, but my extremely knowledgeable teachers suggested a specific one they carry, and it's also one that I think many other smockers prefer. It's said that they make for a smoother, and easier, stitch. Here's one listed at Garden Fairies Trading Company.
As far as thread goes, DMC brand that most any craft stores carry is definitely okay to use, especially if you're just trying smocking out. Anchor is a great brand as well, which is what my local shop carries.
Now when it comes to actual stitches, you almost need to see it in motion (or at least a really detailed photo) so you can see actual placement in the peaks and valleys of the pleats. Basic smocking stitches are cable stitch & wave stitch. Below are videos from Laurie at SewNSo on YouTube:
Cable Stitch Add-Ons & Baby Wave
So that, my friends, is the bare necessities! Again, let me know if you have any questions! I'd love to help you out! Happy Smocking!