YAY! I got a graphics tablet! How happy am I!? (rhetorical, but you know the answer)
Without a graphics tablet, it's pretty difficult to make it look like you've done the drawing on some sort of textured surface. It's also hard to make it look like actual brush-strokes have been used. So far, that hasn't really been a problem, as I use cell-style colouring with a few special effects here and there.
With this picture, I've made it look like a childish painting on canvas. So yeah, it's a little messy looking, but hey, it's only my first try! It feels good to finally be able to draw single strands of hair and such. Paintbrush tool on charcoal setting all the way!
I sent the original picture of this to Jessica, currently on an exchange in Japan. I've been trying to get some half-decent drawings done on my letters, but to no avail, until this. Took only 4 hours! 4 hours I should've been sleeping *sigh*. My focus was on wavy hair, which still bothers me to this very day. But it's much better than when I first started, where hair was just a big clump of colour on a person's head (I only need to look at an older drawing to remind myself).
The original sketch can be found here.