Whether you are painting, drawing, or sculpting, it is best to tell a story. It doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle, and an end. But there should be little details about the character and setting that help your viewer place themselves inside the work.
If you are painting a landscape, what creatures live there? Are there little nibble marks on a stump, perhaps? Tracks? Weather?
If you are drawing a portrait, give the posture a little life. A little contrappasto, a bit of jewelry that says something about the character. Have the person doing something. Not just staring at the viewer, doing nothing!
It’s such a simple tip but it can really make a difference in your work. Details, energy, life. All these help make a great piece.