I started out wanting to make a Megaman Battle Network style of design and it somehow evolved into this. I wanted jet-engine wings (!) to start with but highlighting the rim of those turned into angel halos, and so, here we are.
Years and years ago I used to think FF6 represented the zenith of 16-bit RPG spritework. Nowadays I'm a little more clued up on Seiken Densetsu, Treasure Hunter G, Gunman's Proof and numerous other titles (even in non-RPG genres) that can more than hold their own. It's good to expand that frame of reference, and occasionally be surprised by finding new-to-you nuggets of gold. Octopath Traveller was a nice find for example; before the filters are applied to it, the spriteart in that game is very welcome to the eyes.
Gas13's tutorials are still online as of today, and I still have them bookmarked. (For those reading: http://gas13.ru/v3/tutorials/sywtbapa_almighty_grass_tile.php) st0ven's site has long vanished; I keep a HTML archive of some of the tutorials available, but I assume he didn't want them spread all willy-nilly, else he would have taken precautions to host them elsewhere. Or at least, that's my assumption. Anyone interested in a copy can DM me.
In my opinion you're fine, I think Hapiel wanted to keep it broad. In any case I would argue in favour for the piece staying in the weekly.
Oh right, that's super interesting... I love FF6's graphics, it visually slapped me around the face when I sat down and played it a few years ago.
Man, Gas13's tutorials are really neat. I think they're still online, right?
I miss st0ven's stuff, his work was solid, and from the little I interacted with him was a pleasant person - didn't realise he had made tutorials!
Can't remember where subpixelling was conceptualised/formalised, but it's a pretty complex technique.
To be honest I can see this picture getting thrown out of the challenge, or at least some contention over whether it qualifies as a fairy or sprite. Even so, I had fun putting it together.
When I first started getting serious about pixelart I mainly concentrated on standing RPG sprites, around the FF6 size. I mostly worked with NES/Game Boy palettes, occasionally with the Sega Genesis, to see what detail I could imply under a 3+transparency ruleset. I didn't practice as much under the 16x16 restriction until I branched out into most other hardware palettes, but I found Gas13's old tutorials - and a HTML backup of the tutorials on st0ven's old site, especially Shuku's tutorials - to be a godsend on 32x32 and 64x64 sizes. This on top of learning about subpixelling and 'as your picture gets smaller, your pixels go from suggesting detail to suggesting/conveying whole features' through trial and error.
An unconventional design for the challenge!
I love the way you did the legs, specifically knees and shorts, as well as the face - the more I look at it, the more I can see its detail and subtle expression. And I haven't even mentioned the leaf! Great stuff.
I like how the smaller sprites look like they come from JRPGs, too! :D