I agree with everyone else, you have your colours popping nicely, I think though that you could add some sparks and some hotspots on your final layer. Less is def more, and the shapes don't all have to be flame shaped, throw in some random ones too. When doing licks I think of one side having a harder edge to define the shape, and then a soft faded edge, there's no need for a stencil at all. I've added a pic of something I did a while ago, as it's hard to explain, hoping that makes it clearer . I noticed your first layer on the pic you started today has a lot of shapes in it. You don't really need to do this at this stage. The first layer all you really need to do is map out the area you are going to be painting, and then give it the red to build on. It also looks quite solid and symmetrical, which can take away the natural look. The second layer is when you start to build the shapes - but still keep it pretty loose. Then as you can see on my pic, I go to town on the detail in the top layer, before finishing with the hot spots. My flames aren't exactly a classic look, more like a hodgepodge of different styles that clicked into something I could manage , but hopefully it shows that you don't always have to have a typical flame shape.