jpeg of MSPaint rendering, 2014
The Windows 7 Paint has a colored pencil tool that's not bad for shading -- I used it quite a bit here in the "gradated" areas.
That "improved" MSPaint now has intriguing contradictions: the new brush-like, pen-like, and crayon-like tools can still be used with old legacy pixel lines.
What I've been thinking of as a creative clash of visual rhetorics may be the endgame or death-throes of a certain type of digital imaging, if Jon Williams is prescient in his call to "End Raster Art Now."
In 25 words or less, web imaging is moving towards a vector model, where angles and curves draw mathematically, as opposed to the raster model, where art is a function of pixels and grain.
Adobe Illustrator is vector, Photoshop is raster. Vector has a tendency to reduce images to smooth gradients, without bite, tooth, or grit. Also, screens are still pixel-based, so vector is ultimately converted back to pixel. That is not efficient or minimal. So I think it's permissible to keep exploring contradictions within raster, using familiar forms from painting (Cubist faceting of space) and pixel art (lines and loops).