Here is what I would consider a finished piece, save a few details I think need a bit of tweaking. Comments/critiques requested. One idea I had to modify this would be to create more of an environment (like a street scene with houses in the background) rather than this general landscape background. I think that is what is missing from many of my illustration. no environment.
Hi Tom. This is looking really great, I really like the pastel textures you have going on. At this point critique gets harder because it perhaps skirts the edge of personal preference, which is always harder to critique. I have some thoughts, nonetheless.
Lighten the background slightly, especially the dark green pine trees for a stronger silhouette.
I know you said you had some details to tweak, but my comments are just based off of what I'm seeing of what you posted. I would encourage you to think about your outlines and how they help or distract from the piece. Most importantly, where they draw emphasis. Right now my eye goes straight to the dark black outline on one part of the blonde boy's hair, and it sort of gets stuck there, because it is so strong, and there are not that many areas that have such emphasis, except for the dark bold outlines from the wagon supports.
I would think about including more consistency. In some places your lines are very scratchy, like the boy's neck and where the shirt meets the pants on the outside. It some places it's black, in some places it has the same tones as the local color of the object, in some places it has the colors from the background. Some places are left without an outline. I think you can effectively do all of these things, but it would have to be done with more intention and with a basic formula as to where you are doing these things and why.
This would be a good opportunity to play with your line work. Maybe come up with a few basic rules to follow for yourself, like 1. I'm going have bolder lines on the places I want my viewer to look and on places where one object overlaps another. 2. I'm going to have black outlines on everything, expect the facial features, which will be brown. 3. I'm going to only outline the outside of objects and render the inside with light and shadow. etc, etc.
The fun part is that you come up with your own rules, and really get to play around!
I think you are 90% there with your rendering, you just need to play and render more work.
Thanks, @TessW !