the older sprites don't look old enough for the older characters to seem consistent.
Meanwhile, in the Atelier franchise:
She's lived in a swamp all her life. I figured skin would be pale greenish if you spent enough time in a place like that.
I would think the only reason for that is either not bathing enough (so whatever's green and dyeing your face isn't being washed off thoroughly) or disease, which wouldn't be surprising in a swamp but, yeah. We aren't chameleons.
Anyway, I went and messed with Channah for 30 minutes or so cause zac mentioned some vague stuff about hair and because I'll have better things to say if I actually try to do something about it in FES' most active thread of the year.
Incidentally since I don't think anybody else commented on it from skimming the rest of what was said the formatting you did is fine. Refer to this if you're clueless about anything involving it:
Onto the changes, I'll try to remember what I actually did to it as I type.
- Introduced more broken up lines (basically more shorter lines instead of one continuous one) because with hair being the way it is, full of thin strands and all that bulked up together, it's not really a "solid" enough thing (unless it's wet) to necessarily warrant strong lines going all the way through.
- Changed up the "texture", which might be in conflict with your artistic vision of the character, but the original version basically forces me to perceive the yellow part as some kind of makeshift hood thrown over her head. Some pixel artists out there don't really like this idea and instead like to make the hair as cleanly as possible, like it came out of an anime screenshot, and sometimes that works out for them. However, in this case of two-toned hair I feel that it was necessary to introduce more wild shapes into it (for lack of a better descriptive term) so that each color could flow better into each other.
- Added gradient to the inside lines also for the purpose of getting it to look somewhat more natural and hair-like within the kind of size and color limitations we have to deal with. In other words, I tried to have the lines become darker as they progressed further down in the hair and conversely lighter the further up they were. This isn't really important for sufficiently dark hair, but for lighter hair it makes a big difference.
- Removed the use of the outline inside the hair to define individual shapes because while this does well in showing separation between individual areas of the hair it stands out too much unless again, the hair is dark enough to get away with it. A lot of smoothness in art comes from the use of different values for lines depending on where it's supposed to be around to show a particular shape. Unfortunately we have color limits and have to deal with compromises from time to time but in this case the darkest brown used for hair shading did its job. Some outline remains as a kind of final shade, but since it isn't being used to make a shape stand out and because its used with a very dark surrounding color, it serves to grant the hair further detail without the need to add another color into the whole.
- Used the lightest brown in the left of her hair to provide the final shade of the right of her hair both as a color conserving means and because well it's two-toned hair anyway. That it isn't entirely neatly differentiated adds to the idea that both colors are meant to be there, especially if this happens to be her totally natural hair as opposed to a strange dye job or a wig that refuses to part ways with her.
- Darkened the yellow of the hair on the bottom right. I tried to keep the change within the boundaries of your intentions because I expect people to design something with choices they meant to aim for, but the thing about hair that's meant to be dual colored is that to make it not appear jarring you have to make both colors reach a degree of similarity by decreasing the contrast between them, whether that means making it darker or less saturated or closer to each other on the color spectrum or whatever.
To really give a better idea of how important color value adjustments can be, this is what I did to refine Whitewolf8's mad hatter sprite:
It becomes more and more evident the further you zoom in, but the contrast in the original's hair is so powerful that the pink of the hair starts searing through the green. The band on the hat and the collar also has too great of a contrast which makes it appear more like paper or metal than it does cloth (the intended material) and the adjustments to where the skin shades go on the face (which from what I remember was purely a matter of change in location rather than value alteration) serve to define the shape much more smoothly along with the hair than it would have before.
Now there's a reason why instead of giving any overall area to improve I pointed out specific differences, and only on one portrait instead of looking for trends among the gallery. Because art cannot be consistently done unless you choose to have a consistent image. Different ways of doing things have to be employed for different situations, and I think providing a difference in what you originally made rather than looking at someone else's character entirely will highlight that. Even the "After" versions between the top and bottom ones have things done differently with their hair, because I don't feel like the way it worked for one of them did for the other (which had a drastic change in color value) and thus had to adjust how I would make it work.