I'm having this problem for a while now.
I consider myself a decent sketcher, I've been drawing at art school and then on my own for a bit, but taking a drawing to painting always seems like an daunting task. I'm wondering how did it work for you guys?
I've also done master studies, and they look somewhat decent, but when I'm not (master) copying someone else's painting or photo, I feel kind of lost.
Do you always use reference? Even when designing a cartoony character or environment?
(I think I may have answered my own question too, I just need time to find my own ref to paint, but still would like to know what you think)