This piece just started off as a face study (it was originally a monk.) Gradually I started changing elements (got rid of the monk's hood, added some armor, scar, long hair, etc. )...This was the end result.
Wow! I love the illustration quality to it, and how the attention to detail grounds it down. The hair.. *-* I love it, I'm currently struggling with my digital self-portrait right now due to the hair. Hope you don't mind if I possibly use your style as inspiration, hehe.