I'd try looking at some different isometic art work. Pick a couple you like. Then make a couple different versions of the ones you picked. Just to get the hang of it. Than once you can do the 45 tilt of isometic. You could try droping the horzion even father. I like to use about 120. I good side view with just a little of the tops showing.
I like your pixel art though. You put together some nice colors.
Although now that I really look at it, all of Link's horizontal are actually drawn incorrectly. (Which is what might be making studying hard for you.) They should honestly be rotated forward, towards the screen more to match the same prospective of the vertical
In other words, his head in the horizontal sprites should be moved down a few pixels, you should see more of his cap, and -maybe- part of his shoulder that is in the background.
FF6's backgrounds had used the same point of view that Zelda had. However, it's prospective on it's characters is really worse; both the horizontal and vertical sprites
are draw incorrectly. Although Locke is a sexy guy, anyone can see how 'flat' he looks. Meaning that the artist didn't even try to make him 'pop out'. You should see what I mean if you compare Link's and Locke's standing forward sprites. Do you see how Link looks more '3d'?
So both Nintendo's and Squaresoft's artists made visual mistakes. So how come people aren't roiting in the streets? Three things.
First, in both cases the world (backgrounds) are clearly drawn with '3D-ish' in nature, so the character sprites are assumed to have the same prospective (even if they really don't).
Second, the games are fun so people would 'forgive' the artists. And finally, some people can't honestly tell they are incorrect.
This is a image of my game. Can you notice something wrong? That's right, the prospective on the guy is wrong. It's 'flat' just like in the FF6 example. My horizontal sprites are also wrong. So, the question you might be asking yourself is "If he knows it's wrong, why not just draw it correctly?". The answer is the same one I gave before, it's easier to draw this way. It also goes back to those three reasons I gave above; the prospective is implied, people would forgive it if the game was fun, and some people might not even notice.
So what should you do? I think you should work on the backgrounds first. The prospective of the world is more important then the characters. Once you have that down, then you have to pick if you are going to draw the characters at the correct point of view, or an implied one. I'm willing to bet money that if you are doing totally artwork, as I am, you'll find that drawing implied or 'incorrect' prospective is much easier.
Thanks for your replies. Yes, I could use wrong graphics but I don't want to. It looks strange is some objects are angled in a different way. Another problem is that some objects look good when they directly face you...but when you change the point of view they look bad.
Look what I just bought...great for making my characters and later trying to pixel what I've made.
You need to think orthographically. My advice would be to download some cheap 3D animation software like Anim8tor which allows you to use an orthographic view-port and use that as a visual guide to how objects are effected by rotation.
Orthographic projection basically means that you're viewing something in 3D, without perspective distortion (ie: objects getting smaller as they progress into the distance or fish eye as they extend to the left or right.)
Using Play-doh to model sprites. Holy Francois, this thread just got epic.
I like (and have actually used) Brandon's idea, with the 3D modeling package.
If you can't be arsed with all that, just draw a front-view sprite but make a few adjustments: make the head bigger and legs shorter, facial features (inc. hair) are lower on the face and the head itself is lower down the body.
Had a look at different games. Some games do not follow strict rules at all and just try to create some good-looking characters. The trees are ok but chars are not angled correctly to see more of their faces. Bomberman for the MAME (arcade) even has flat characters - the heroes and monsters...Mario-Style although the rest is angled.
EDIT The sound is horrible! Turn it off!
The yellow monsters seem to have a frontal angle but the ninjas? Don'T think so. I am confused now.