Some useful tips for writers:
Writing Inspiration: Paintings
Paintings and portraits are a fun source of inspiration for novels and characters. I often find character faces hard to imagine from scratch, so I use portraits to base them off (or I use people I see in my life!).
Some of the best artwork for inspiration is old oil paintings and fantasy art by spectacular authors such as Josephine Wall and Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (see pictures below). Even in paintings, its hard to find a face that really captures the character you want to write about, but I've found some nice ones in art galleries and, of course, the seemingly infinite stream of google images. All you need is one beautiful face (or maybe not so beautiful...) and you can craft them into a prince, princess, magician, villain, librarian, adventurer, or anything else and set them off on an adventure!
Check out my Fantasy Character Inspiration Board for more:

 Stephanie Pui-Mun Law - Shadowscapes Tarot - Fantasy Art
The World by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law ©Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Beneath the Eildon Tree by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law ©Stephanie Pui-Mun Law 
The Enchanted Flute by Josephine Wall
A Philosopher Giving a Lecture on the Orrery by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797)
The Hermit Studying Anatomy by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797)
Old Man Holding a Pair of Spectacles by Carel van der Pluym (1625-1672)
 Sonia Verdu
My dear emerald dream, why do you droop like an old willow?
It was a witch's night; the moon shone yellow and cackled above the misting fields.
Where cats are involved, you know there will be an opera of demons all night.

What on earth do those mean? I have no idea, I just wrote them without thinking much--but let the words come and you'll be able to make something intriguing out of them.


Writing Inspiration: Clouds
Look up. What story do you see there? What bizarre combination of shapes and creatures live and die in those white fluffy worlds above? What monster broods in the grey thundering mist?

Here is a very comprehensive and creative list of eye colours:

"A Soul Wanderer never knows. He wanders; he makes his own path through the
heights of the universe."

-Sio Larwick

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Mary-Jean's books

The Printer's Devil
The Crystal Cave
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Lost Prince
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Hobbit
Rise of the Darklings
The Fire King
Clockwork Angel
Jane Eyre
Wuthering Heights
The Lost World
Around the World in Eighty Days
The Sum of All Men
Brotherhood of the Wolf
The Lair of Bones
Sons of the Oak
The Wyrmling Horde

Mary-Jean Harris's favorite books »
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