My next project, for no good reason, is going to be a portrait of Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor saying, "Otisburg?!" This is the scene the embroidery will be based on (esp. Luthor's face right at 1:40):
I'm not really sure how I'm going to accomplish it. I thought about doing some applique and embroidering details, but I think it will end up more like the portraits Jenny Hart (of Sublime Stitching) does.
(I mean, I won't be doing all the border stuff, but it will be more like drawing with thread than anything else.)
While I was researching, though, I found these beautiful images of ecclesiastical embroidery, which often use a combination of painting and embroidery to make portraits of Jesus and Mary and whichever of the saints needed venerating. Look at the detail! (Lots of discussion about this sort of embroidery is found on Mary Corbet's Needle'n'Thread blog, which actually seems quite useful for embroidererers.)
Someday, I hope to have the skill and patience to render pop culture figures so beautifully!