Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke is a wonderful novel, I thought. It's quite an interesting take on fantasy. It has a very historical bent, which adds a lot of authenticity to the crazier fantasy elements that show up later on. Love the imagery -- great stuff to draw, generally.
And here is Jonathan Strange, as I thought he might look. The novel suggested a sort of exaggerated realism to me -- though maybe it would, because I think I kind of have this style stuck in my brain after Brink, but nevertheless it seems good to use here. Using Ingres's portraiture a lot for reference -- he worked during the same time period as the novel is set (though in France, not England), so it seemed pretty appropriate.
At the moment I'm not entirely disliking the direction it's going. Needs magic paraphernalia to let everybody know it's not just a weirdly proportioned 19th century-type portrait. And more texture/material variation. And a different hand position. And stuff in the background. Lots more work, anyway!
This isn't the way I normally work for this sort of piece (I hate changing the size of my canvas -- means I screwed up the composition, or wasn't thinking ahead enough) but it started as a tiny doodle that grew, and that is the way of this sort of thing. Luckily it's a portrait and not a huge multi-figure illustration.