Actually, I don't really use many tools. Just a few brushes for most of it. Round brush, chalk brush, and some dirt brush. Never used any other tools aside from when I was doing the shiny magic, where I used this technique: [link]
Practice, and get your art out there. :] One way to help when you're stuck is critiques. There are groups on DA you can go to for advice on work if you need it. Aside from that, lots of art studies, lots of practice.
Great sense of movement in the hair and tail... the posing is also quite nice. The kicked-up dirt is a great bonus. Anatomy seems consistent, the hair has a nice smooth texture to it, though I do think the neckmane is slightly long, and it's dark purple distracts me from the intense look on her face. There are places with highlights and shades, though the back half is somewhat lacking in that respect. I'd say try to push the tones more, imply a greater sense of light. This piece seems very calm, though I doubt that was the intention. Kicked-up dirt, offensive pose, intense look, though calm shades and low contrast. The shades overall need to be darker to give a more active scene, and I think the darker shadow under her left-most hoof will create a nice dark space surrounding the face, which will draw us into that lighter space and into her intense look.
I'm going to be honest, I don't always click through to sources on Drawfriend, even for the ones I like a lot, but this for whatever reason really caught my eye. I just really like everything about it, Twi's facial expression, posing, shading, overall feeling, especially as conveyed through minute details like the sliding hooves through the dirt. Also, your style goes very well with this piece, there's just so much about this that works together so well. Sorry for the novel.
You don't have to change it. You were inviting some critique there, which I believe you also thought there were room to improve the drawing so I was giving' ma 2 cents. If you are happy with your work, you should defend it. That is what they do at art schools as far as I remember. After all, art is very subjective. Please do not call me sir. I am a town drunk.
Already did, hoof looked off. Only took a minute. :]
Hm. I like critiques, though. I mean, if they outright attack it, or they're telling me to change everything about it so it's only to their liking, then yeah I'll defend it.
But a simple "Hey this looks off to me and here's how I think you could fix it" is more than fine with me. Sometimes I get stuck and need a fresh pair of eyes to check it and point things out, but very few people I know will do that for me. Most people seem to either think they'll be crushing my hopes and dreams, or that I'll crush them, for saying anything other than "wow thats awesome, you are the best artist ever."
Anyways. TL;DR: I like constructive criticism, but will defend ze art when necessary.
The work looks better. I am with you on the art critiques. I did enough of critiques while I was a student. I got tired of people couldn't take any criticism. Also I heard a lot of 3 C words; Cute, Clever, Creative in those critique sessions. When people use the terms on my work, I assumed they didn't have much to say about the work. Unless of course your subject matter is supposed to be "cute". Good luck to you.