I think the reason why the artworks look "weird" is the way you paint them: the point is to show the volumes (like cel-shading), not to put some shadows near the edges. Think where is the light and where should be the shadows. Like in the cherry tree, shadows on the paper are both left and right (and none on the tree which make it flat). On akari, the front leg should make a large shadow on the back leg.
Well good luck, I give advices but I'm poor at drawing ^^