For reasons that have not been explained to me,
asked me to redraw the top picture. This was a bit of a surprise to me, since A) the top picture is 10 years old, B) I didn't think it was still available somewhere and C) Nawulf is kind of a big deal.
Anyway, the top picture was a layout on my website (which is now on a loooong hiatus, btw) in the autumn of 2007. It features Revil, a character from an old story of mine. Basically he's a friendly pumpkin spirit who helps the main character fight an evil pumpkin demon. I was like 12 when I wrote that. And the bottom picture is the one I drew now, in 2017, so it's been 10 years. Huh. I feel old now. But I feel like I've improved somewhat. Hopefully you agree Ô_o Although wow, my scanner HATED the new pic.
Mostly my improvement has been just practice practice practice, but there are a couple of "tricks" that also help:
1) Use references. I always felt that using a reference made the final artwork less original and was a bit of a loser thing to do, but it isn't. Using references is a pro thing to do.
2) Have patience. Some people enjoy drawing details and coloring and shading and coloring more, but I don't. But it's important to spend time on a piece if you want it to look polished. The top image took me probably a couple of hours back in the day; the new one took more like 10.
3) USE COLORS FOR SHADING. In 2007 I shaded with 1 pencil only, so that more pressure meant shadow and less pressure meant light. But it's better to use multiple colors. In the new one, each of the pumpkins is colored with 4 or 5 pencils. I guess that's could be just personal preference, but I feel like the colors in the new one look much better.