I'm a fan of clean art myself, but every time I try to make art of my own, I end up using smudge. I don't know why. I guess there's a difference between what you like seeing and what you like doing. Oh, and before you ask, I don't have a DevArt account. I'm not good enough for one. Yet.
But I think gradients are best used when they're unnoticeable. They do still make a difference, making the picture less radiant and more life-like. But without a magnifying glass you can't make them out in some cases :P
You're welcome, really. And none of that's flattery. I really did like what I saw. They're like, so clean. Shadowing is good. I don't see gradients, but I'm gonna mark that as your style. It works, after all.