That Crockets thing with the driving into water sounds like something I would think up of really late at night, ie mad! It's also good to hear that art is fun
As for rendering I don't have much idea myself. But the few things I might suggest would be, maybe having an example of the kind of finish you want, also you don't need to tighten everything up, just the main things, like the person on the skeleton, is that guy in the background important, ect.
I mean no offence by this but you little drawings look British
P.S. I don't think cheating is 3... I mean that 3d isn't cheating it's just a tool
edit: page 13!