My first stop were the traits I wanted to visually portray. She's bitter, spiteful and jealous so I want her to look physically sharp and pointed, as if she's made from thorns. Much like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, I want her to look as if she would be very beautiful but her personality has twisted her looks so she appears merciless and cold. To do this she'll have quite an angular face and big black emotionless eyes that appear endless when looked into and elegant but small lips that seem permanently creased. I want her to be 'crowned' with thorned horns that grow from her head as if she's become royalty through sheer will rather than through her blood line. I want her to be a visual contrast, her features kept elegant and deer like but her frame is sharp and thin like a decrepit twisted tree.
Here are the first few sketches I did before research:
Here is where I thought I should look into face shapes and skeletal structure so she can actually look more believable. First off, as I want her to quite angular with deer like features, I looked into the skulls of deer and elks. Here are the images I worked from:
The next step was to have a look at a human skull so I have something to reference from:
Though it isn't the best drawing of a skull it definitely made me more aware of the dominant shapes and bones in the human face, so I can better morph the two skulls together. My first attempt (bottom right) is a little bit too much like the guy from the Dungeon Keeper games but for the first general shape it's pretty useful.
This is the first face I've come up with so far using the research above. There's a lot more I want to try, such as going from super sharp and pointed to maybe a more subtle coldness, centred in the eyes and later the posture. I'm feeling really positive now though, I think she's going to look pretty awesome once I work my way around the body and then roll on the other characters! :D