I feel you man, maybe I get to hard on people who "spice up" their work with filters and such because I don't do it myself, but am still guilty of not trying as hard as I can when it comes to harder study. Welp, time to put on some jazz and get working.
I kinda see two messages, one is you don't need to be the same as everyone else and create your own style, and the other is try try again to get it right, but it kinda bothered me how you made this character attempt to be the same as everyone else.
The point isn't to be the same as everyone else, the point is to be better than you are now. Even though his "colours" weren't at the same level as the others, he made up for it through different means. It's like artists who (for example) are bad at anatomy or clothing, and make up for it through lots of little details and really nice colours. That artist has found a way to bring themselves to a higher level, but still hasn't addressed their underlying artistic weaknesses (actual or self imposed). I know the feeling of this strip very well, and I think a lot of self taught people do too. It's just the growing process C:
I feel like this is trying to teach something but I still don't know...just how do you make vibrant colors in Paint tool sai? I try using the watercolor tool to blend and the colors just appear washed out like they were stained with a dirty mop. Any advice for this, or should I try learning how with gradual effort...in photoshop? Honestly blending feels like less of a hassle but there isn't a stabilizer for lines.