Mulan went through several changes. I recognize her as a queer icon, especially for trans men and I was self-conscious about feminizing her face too conventionally. I also went back and forth about her clothing. Should I base her suit on the poster image of Mulan in pink, red and Blue? Or should I use the green and beige armor that she wears for most of the film? The armor, to me represents her most authentic self and so I went in that direction.
In the first go, she looked too angry, so I enlarged all her features and added some loose hair strands to soften her bone structure. Ultimately, I decided against the exaggerated eyes, lips, and makeup. In the fourth and final version, I relaxed her mouth, gave her nose less of a bridge, added a slight sun burn on her forehead and nose, and drew a dirty scrape on her left cheek.
I feel that these small touches helped me understand who she is as an adult by showing me her love for the outdoors, her adventurousness, and her disregard of beauty constructs. Aside from her suit which is inspired by a few things including a Chanel 3 piece suit I love, general anime schoolgirl aesthetic, and Disneyland staff uniforms, her look is more practical than glam.