I've never used a stick, my dad purchased a small wire feed mig a couple of years ago. It is hard to get a good bead with the wire. By good I mean pretty with good penetration. I just made some new seat brackets for my 87 to adapt 91 Mitsubishi seats into it. I used 1"x.065" galvinized tube. I've never welded on something so hard to get a good bead on. I've been able to make the best beads on angled steel, .125" thick, from home depot.
To run a pretty beed use a constant motion, back and forth from one piece to the next. When I'm finished with a pretty bead it looks like a good caulk line with a slighy shiwhy form on top. Now it also depends on what power setting you are using and the speed of the wire/stick, the back and forth motion and feed into the material that you are welding. If the power isn't high enough then you won't get good penetration; if the power is too high then it will burn through the material. If the feed is too slow you will get gaps in your arc. If the feed is too fast then you will get gaps in the ard and wit will feel like you are being pushed away from the material that you are welding. If your shishy, back and forth motion is too fast you will get gaps in you arc and not get good penetration. If you move too slow then your bead will look like it is bulging, or you might burn through the material. If you burn through the material, the arc was penetrating too well. Turn the power down and try again. It really gets complicated when you weld to different metals together or two differing thickenesses of the same metal.
Now, I've been welding a very short time in comparison to some of the others on this board, but I have identified something that will tell me if I am getting a good arc. The sound of the arc will tell you if you are getting good weld, (good penetration, pretty weld). Practice some and play with the different settings on your particular welder. If you lay a pretty bead you can always cut it apart to see a cross section of the weld. This will allow you te see how good your weld is. Once you lay a couple of good beads, you will be able to pick out the sound that material makes when you are getting a good bead. It is like cooking almost, it just takes practice, you might burn yourself also. I tend to hold the gun like a cue stick. I hold it in my left hand and manuver the tip with my right hand. It helps me keep the tip of the gun steady so that I can keep a continuous arc. I have burned a hole in my dad's welding gloves practicing this way, but I eventually learned to keep my left hand far enough away from the arc to keep the glove from getting that hot.
engine rebuild w/4.0 head done, now for the MPI