I have been struggling for ages to work out the best way to embroider characters so that they don't just look like badly drawn art. In the past I have used Biro to make the faces. Having looked at a Russian icon I thought that I would try and inset painted faces, a possible way forward if I work on my painting skills. I quite like the idea of contrasting the heavily embroidered cloth with painted elements.
The Biro faces seem to fade over time, I made these about about 28 months ago
And the original monkeys doodle.