First one was pretty much a quicky. Trying to do a not perfect character who is nevertheless (ha!) happy. The style is a little experiment, also chosen because Manga characters always look perfect (young girls, at least).
With the second I wanted to make a portrait with obvious Fantasy elements, except for just a girl with pointed ears. Funnily enough, I only realized afterwards that the background is similar to the ones that we always had on the portrait photos that were taken at school.
It's also funny how Joss Whedon talks a lot about Buffy and Angel on the Firefly commentary.