|APPROACH TO WORK|
There are some thing you should consider when working with pixels. I'm starting off rather gloomy, but don't worry! It's all uphill from here.
Investment of Time and Effort
Working on pixel art is a time-consuming and often difficult process. The more time you spend working on, and then refining a piece, the better it will look. This can often take hours, though the rewards are well worth it.
If you are not prepared to invest the time on your work, then it will look shit, regardless of how many tutorials you read.
Basic Art Skills
Basic art skills - knowledge of colour, texture, perspective, form and anatomy, as well as a fair bit of experience of looking at things, transfer just as well into this digital medium as they do into others.
Any inability to produce a sprite you are happy with may be due to a defiency in this area. If you can't draw a person on paper - or at least tell good art apart from bad, you may well struggle with pixels.
If this is the case, then brushing up on your basic art skills is a must.
Nothing Ever Works First Time
The first few iterations of your lineart or shaded image may often look terrible. Don't be disheartened - even the most seemingly hideous mistakes can be edited into something decent.
I quite often find myself working by the process of refinement. Once the latest version of your piece is complete, sit back and take a good look at it before fixing it. This 'tweaking' usually breaks down into a simple, 3 step cycle :
1 - What is wrong with it?
2 - How can I fix it? (Often defined by 1)
3 - Fixing it.
Check out this painful progression. What was I thinking when I started it? Nethertheless, I think I saved it.
The Use of References
Often, you can make up for a lack of knowledge of your subject by working from relevant photos or other images. These can be found from a variety of sources, the most immediate being via a search engine on the internet.
You can also find new and interesting colours from photographs and other people's pixel art. Remember that direct plagiarism, including the editing of other people's work, is distinctly uncool.