We can tell the difference indeed! The shadows add more depth for sure.
I don't understand what's at the tip of the stick, is it smoke or cotton? Maybe I lack context. If it's smoke, I would suggest to do something lesss compact, like it's affected by wind or just going into the air. Somehow showing that it's flowing if that makes sense.
Although it might be difficult to convey that since you don't have a lot of space at the top of your picture (unless it's cropped?), but at least you'll get more knowledge for next time
And keep up the good work, that's great to see you're finishing your game ^^
Guess I'll show some drawings too, so I did thse two for showcase on my website