It is pretty flat-shaded, but has the potential to be better.
The contrast is really low too, look at the small sprite, you can't tell the difference between the hair's 2 colors. Same with the clothes and the shoes.
I also think the arms stick out too much, but that is just me.
I say try to fix the shading, and maybe the arms, and this should be good.
Edited by -MacAdaM-
Your just jealous that you're not as awesome as me.
(And my megaman avatar )
Greetings. It's a good start. If you haven't already you might want to do more studying of other sprites. I noticed you said 'final fantasy' twice, so if that is the style you are trying to mimic, you should study srites from those games. Here's a link to a site that has some ff6 sprites; http://www.retrogamezone.co.uk/FinalFantasy6.html
It would be tempting to just recolor locke or terra and claim them as your own, but you won't learn anything like that. Take your time and try to pick the sprites apart. "What's that? An arm? Why is it drawn like that? What would it look like drawn from another angle?" etc.
Your sprite isn't bad, but there are a few things I'd like to point out. Do you have any size restrictions? Have you thought about trying to make slightly bigger sprites? It might be a little easier for you. Sure, ff1 sprites were tiny (16x16) but they really didn't have a lot of detail. Here are some sprites from ff3; http://www.retrogamezone.co.uk/FinalFantasy3.html Making bigger sprites will give you more room for details, but it will also allow the limbs and such to be more readable.
Still, small or big sprites, it will be a good idea draw an unisex blad character from front, back, and side. After you do that, copy an paste it and then try to make a new character based on th copy. Always make back ups of every step of your sprite. An extreme case would be having to redraw the whole sprite because you messed up drawing a limb.
My sprite sheets look like a bunch of legos thrown all over the place; severed heads, limbs and over pieces. Keeping backups of your sprites can also give new animation ideas when gazing at them.
Having a black outline around the character is a question of personal taste, but I think most people would agree that characters look better without them. Try using a darker shade of the neiboring color as the outline color. Good luck!
Just a quick suggestion, but you may want to get rid of the black outlines.
Instead, make them a darker version of the body colour. This gives you more pixels to work in the detail. Also I would increase the brightness of the colours, giving you more clarity; and maybe make his eyes dark brown (like the feet are) instead of jet black.
About your sprite, there are a couple of things worth mentioning.
One, cardinal failiure! Never use two rows of black in a 16x16 sprite ever.
When designing such a small sprite every pixel counts. Using that much black for the legs doesn't only waste space, it also leaves the sprite with a big black thump between his/her legs. You use six pixels for the legs width, four of those are just black! Meaning that 2/3 of your legs consists of outlines! That's way too much!
Same with the arms, 2/3 outlining!
I decided to tweak the original sprite and it turned out like this. Just keep in mind that hair doesn't actually rest only on top of the head (or is that supposed to be a hat?) and its best to choose colours that are contrasting so small details are clearer. You are using a tiny sprite after all.