Lol, true, the art should be whatever you're comfortable with looking at and drawing.
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.
You know, 32x32 isn't really a good size for drawing a person. 16x32 is better but even then it's quite small. Sure a lot of rpgs in the 8/16 bit era used these sizes but that was more to fit in with the limitations of the hardware's sprite sizes.
See if you prefer something bigger. It will make life easier.
You know, I was in the same boat many years ago. I wanted to make my own rpg sprites, but I didn't want to rip from other games. So that only leaves one thing; make your own sprite style. It took me over a decade to finalize the style I am currently using. It was a lot of hard work, but it's very rewarding to have something that looks good that you made 100% yourself.
So the best advice I can give you is to study a lot of different sprites. Take note of what looks good to you and try to emulate it. Ripping/editing is the same as tracing... it's a quite answer, but it's tainted. You won't learn anything like that, and people will notice it's stolen within a few seconds.
A lot of Atari and NES games used small sprites. Final Fantasy used 16x16 sprites and tiles. I'm not saying that's the size you should you, but I'm reminding you that people have used small sprites effectively in the past.
I'm guessing from that last image you posted, you've been studying FF6 sprites. That's a good start. But don't stop there. Take a look at Chrono Trigger. Hell, even the Sailor Moon RPG had some decent sprites. Look at a wide range of sprites, look at the things they have in common (eyes for example). Try to figure out what makes it tick.
It also might help to think of sprites as lego men. It first glace, you might see 1 lego figure. However, you are also looking at 7 individual pieces that make up that one figure.
If someone were to look at one of my sprite sheets, it might look like a horror show; I have different heads and limbs all over the place. I also have all my characters bald and simi-nude... after all why redraw a whole new sprite when you are only changing the clothes or the hair? While it might look like I have a ton of different characters... I really only have one male sprite and one female sprtie. I just keep changing the hair, skin tone, clothes, etc.
Man... there is so much to try to explain. Anyways, all I can say is what I said before, above. Study and practice.
Practice and study. Just keep in mind that, like anything, you can't get good overnight. Moreover, if you don't try, you'll never improve. Anyways, don't give up.
I would suggest not working with size constraints. Rework it until you get the feel you are aiming for. Upon accomplishing that, resize your sprites to the size you need, smooth out the outlines and rework it again. It works for me .
When creating a sprite I think it's important to do somthing you´re comfortable with.
It's easy to create a single sprite where the character is standing still.
For me the hard thing is to do the walking, fighting whatever animation, to make it look good and smooth.
What i meen is that it's important to have a good ground layout for the sprite so it's easy to make the animations it's suppose to have.
I am not so good with sprites thats why I do it as simple as possible, that works for me.
This is an example from my "Forgoten Tales" project, a very simple character sprite (easy to animate).