Cassie is a d&d character, a winter witch. So I tried to portray her in something akin to a natural environment for her. Alongside the winterly background and the icy staff, I hope to have pushed a bit the idea of her magical interests.
It depends where you want your focus. I'm only a learning digital artist and I've seen some really simplistic backgrounds with amazing character(s), then I've seen backgrounds so intricate that it boggles the eyes with detail and there's be something that still holds attention to the character(s). This one for me the background was amazing and it still kept full attention on Cassie and her detail
This time it was because of the contrast of the white-blue snow and her red hued clothing. It made her pop. It also helped because I thought the background as a frame, with the trees flanking her. A couple of simple tricks but they do the job.
So much still to learn, but watching amazing artists help picking up those simple tricks you mention She's one of my favorite pieces I've seen on DA since I joined and will remain so Thank you for creating her
I'm glad to hear that. I'm still learning myself and to be honest I hope I will always keep learning. Like you, I find inspiration and amazement at the great artists who share their works with us here, on DA.