The best thing you can do is to learn the basics of material attributes.
Color- main appearance.
Transparency- based on color as to how and where an object is transparent. Basically a white to black will do for you with white being the most transparent and black being the most opaque (light-blocking).
Ambient Color- appearance seen with ambient lighting, use this to affect the Color slot
Incandescence- this affects how much an object glows on it's own. It does not become a light source, but is visible in the dark. Same as the transparency, white to black again with white causing the most effect.
Bump Mapping- as the name suggests, bump mapping will create a "textured" surface. Once again based on black and white. You can use colored textures in this slot but your best bet if you used a color texture for you main color is to make a black and white copy for the other attributes to get the desired look.
Diffuse- this is how much of the Color slot shows versus the default grey basically. Use this when your texture is too light or dark.
Translucence- black and white based yet again, this affects how much the material will glow with lighting, as in a lit candle, the wax has some translucence with makes it appear to glow near the tip
Start with those and then move on and learn the rest
Red bellows of flame have blackened my stones
Convulsing my frame and cracking my bones
Hell's dragons of steel who roar in their chains
Crawl into my caves to suck out my veins.....
-The Mountain P.F.M.