The Raptor King IIOnly 60 odd people can ride raptors on Julus, and most of them are male. Apprentices don't count. Half either wash out or die before their six-plus years of training is over. Lucien has had only three, because he's not a good teacher (he throws his apprentices off cliff-tops for them to summon and catch a raptor mid-flight, or die), and can't relate to young people.
Him being the king means said apprentice doesn't get to roam much outside the desert kingdom, since Lucien can't be bothered with state visits. He prefers to visit incognito, back-packer style, much to the horror of his court, and on occasion to Rider-hostile territories. Granted, it's not a Rider's fault the raptor he's on decides to eat a man for dinner-Riders can't control the birds, only call and coax them, and city people know sod-all how to avoid becoming dinner. Every time a Rider gets on and off, the raptor tries to kill him, which is one reason why he carries swords, daggers, a crossbow and mirrors everywhere
I think you've pointed out what's bothering me about the background. I'm not sure how to remove the warm tones, though, I had rubbed off much of the pencil in the orange bits and in some of the green. His shoulder is bothering me, too.
I wondered that about the ear. It never occurred to me the forehead was too sloped, it looked fine when I did the flip trick. He's based of David Gandy, a British model, since he has the features I was looking for.
The pencils are Derwents, but I'm not a fan of using saturated colours. There is Faber in some of the green, though.
I think I prefer the b&w, too. I think I chose the wrong colour scheme for the background (hell, when I messed with colour combinations with my clothes, this scheme looked cool), but it was an experiment. Live and learn.
Thanks very much!