On second thought; even though stock resources look 'low effort' or 'cheap', I don't think it necessarily means the person actually put any less effort into it. I can totally imagine someone spending hours flipping through every corner of the internet for the perfect images that capture their vision as closely as possible (and making sure they're legal to use), and trying out a billion different filter combinations, agonizing over which one looks best. (And the 'rough' shadowy doodles might actually be the extent of someone's skills - drawing mysterious shadowy figures is a totally different ball game than drawing characters normally; or at least it can feel that way when you're just starting out)
Finding and choosing things is unironically hard! If I were to do the above for whatever reason, it may well take me longer than just drawing the darn thing. (But that doesn't stop people if they feel like whatever they draw with their own two hands will look even worse. In a way, trying to pick the right images and settling for one's own hand-drawn stuff only when necessary actually implies one really cares about the quality of the final product)
It's healthier to work to improve your art instead, of course; all this is just to say that 'lazy'-looking piece might actually be something the creator really agonized and fussed over. Not to mention I don't see why people would lie about putting in more effort than they actually did into something; if anything, I tend to want to downplay the effort I put in because it makes me feel talented, which is way more of an ego boost I don't see much comfort in being recognized as having put a lot of effort into something unless you really did
(I mean this is just a semantic nitpick at the end of the day; I feel like 'effort' is not a very accurate word for what you're talking about when it's more like 'willingness to go outside your comfort zone' (but I get there's no word for that so yeah XD). And I feel like people might be unnecessarily hurt to hear they put no effort into their work if they actually spent a lot of time on it and so it sure feels like they did :'D)
Oh yeah, I totally get the fear of making your sympathetic main characters do something actually bad; even though no-one actually says they're against flawed characters, morality is a hard line to navigate and while you might feel like your character is sympathetic because they're trying to change etc etc, someone else might think what they've already done is unforgivable and they can't really make up for it anymore because they've already poisoned the well.
And that potential judgment is scary if you fear that it will turn into an attack on your own moral character as the author, or even if you just relate to the character and any attack on them feels like an attack on you I do think it's good to write that flawed character and try not to let the fear get to you, but I get why people don't :'D
...well, not all people, of course XD I mean, at least steal the slaves right? :'D