Art critique and advice; beginner artists are welcome to post here; includes an oekaki. (NO FLAMES)
Artists, read before posting!
Before you post your art to ask for critique, please read these tutorials. They explain the basic principles of drawing and figure drawing. Most posts where these basics are missing will never get a response, as people are quite frankly sick and bored of explaining over and over that you would have to pretty much learn how to draw first, before you could improve.
Well, about the pic you attached here : There's unquestionable improvement from 2006, but you already know that. What throws me off in the 2012 pic is the shading. I think it's too soft, and too uniform. Judging from my own experiences I sometimes tend to treat every anatomical or structural part on its own when shading, disregarding the whole, and that gives the image a uniform flat look. I'd suggest you try with the simplest brush available, usually a hard circular one, and first work in black and white over the whole pic, dealing with the largest forms or simplifications of forms. When you have your values looking ok as a whole for the larger forms, you can elaborate on the smaller ones. Avoid softer brushes or blurring tools, they can be very very distracting, and the final result should be better without them anyway. They're good shortcuts sometimes, but can mask flaws you would otherwise have corrected. If you struggle with something, it's almost never because the basic brush is inappropriate, and much more common there's something you don't understand completely about that pic, be it anatomy, lighting or something else. Do sketches for that part until you're completely sure what it is, and what it looks like, and then try again, with the (reasonably) simplest tools available.