So, I've been developing a game recently, and I have grown to hate my base icon for the character. I am not good with art, so I was wondering where I could improve with this image.

(Stage 1 )
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(The character is to be seen from a front,
back, and side perspective. )

(Stage 2)
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Aside from creating a base Icon, I can transfer it into different movement states quite well. It's just that kick-starting Icon, the base that always gets me.
Play with colors, light, and shape. Ask if you really need to represent the face with eyes. Take a trip to or to look at their pieces and study their choices.

After actually looking at the graphic and would suggest using a more contrasting values and colors to the shadows of this guy and maybe some selout.
I have tried to help:

Step 1: Understand how things look in the RPG perspective. In the perspective things are looked from the top and hence some call it even top-down perspective. Yours looks as if we are looking it from the front.

Step 2: Create the line art. Keep the eyes as low as possible as it creates illusion that the base is being looked from the top. However remember that while creating a realistic base, the body should seem to get thinner and thinner as you know the farther away objects seem to look smaller.

Step 3: Fill the colour.

Step 4: Shade. Shade it using a light source. I have chosen it to be coming from top. Also in your base what you have used is known as pillow shading. Also shade to again create an illusion of depth and to create perspective.

Step 5: Add clothing, fix detailing etc.

I hope this helps. Also I would recommend reading some tutorials from PixelJoint by Cure and Hapiel.

I should have (And am going to update it) included that the character is going to be looked at from the front, sides, and back. Thanks for the help though, looking at your example helps me understand that the feet don't necessarily need to be so bulging.
I've posted a few step-by-steps on spriting on this forum... Lemme give you some links: Akando5959?command=view_post&post=1326679#comment5606073

I really am not a very good artist, I've forced myself to learn to do it, though. I'm more of a programmer (as I suspect you are), so maybe my take on things will be of some help to you.