I LOVE THAT BOTTOM ONE SO MUCH!! I think you should continue in that route; your way with color gradients gives off as nice mood for the overall image :)
Wow these are really awesome James. I really like the pose of the one on the bottom but I like the color choice of the one at the top. The one critique I would have is that the top one the collar blends with the background. I really like the little details in it. Was it in Photoshop?
awesome stuff James!