I'm having trouble putting it all into words, but I do notice some subtleties that allows this one to stand out from the previous version a bit. For starters, I do find Sailor Sun's body language to be a bit more 'heroic' with this version, although I'm not quite sure if it's because she's closer, her shoulders are straighter, or a combination of the two. Still, it's a nice touch.
One thing I can say for sure is that I agree with you in terms of the lighting. It appears as though you were more comfortable with the coloring process of this version, and as a result, you were able to give the image a more unique look.
All in all, though, I do think this is an improvement. If nothing else, this piece shows a clearer direction in what you wanted to accomplish, which seems to have resulted in a fresher take of the drawing. Nicely done!
I'm not sure what it is either. I'm thinking that having a closeup view of her face might convey a lot of the strength and charisma I originally intended her to have (not entirely sure if that translates to heroic but I enjoy thinking of her that way.)
It's funny how the coloring took me a lot less time than the original version. The old image I actually colored twice (I wasn't satisified with the first version) Altogether, it probably took me about 10 -15 hours total if you include the background, whereas this version took me maybe 2 hours to color. I guess, I have an easier time coloring now that I have a developed reference sheet and have established exactly the right shade of brown for the hair.
Thanks for your constructive comment. I appreciate comments like this and do not get enough of them. : )
The close-up definitely helps (even though I would have also liked to see more of her legs, since you did mention them), but I think it's really an improved body language here. Normally, straighter shoulders would imply a 'stiffness' to the character, but I think it keeps Sun from being too 'cute' here. Maybe that's what allows the heroism to show through. Either that or I'm just looking too much into shoulders...
As for the differences in coloring time, I think that's just experience talking. It has been a few months between the two drawings, and it only takes a quick glance through your gallery to see that you have been working on your technique. So it's really no surprise that you've managed to re-create the drawing in a quicker manner, on just having a clearer direction how your wanted to approach the coloring.
You're most welcome. Commenting is probably the thing I enjoy most around here, so it's really no big deal. Glad that you appreciate it, really.