MD: The wealth disparity between the rich and the poor in Ba Sing Se has become much worse since Aang first visited the city. Episodes like this one are very taxing for the entire design team, as there are many different locations and so many background characters that need to be fleshed out to make Ba Sing Se feel like a real, lived-in city.
BK: Seeing all of these Lower Ring character designs imbued with so much personality makes me wish that every one of them somehow could have a spotlight moment on-screen. You can tell by these designs the middle Ring denizens are privileged to have more fortunate, less back-breaking lives than those in the severely oppressed Lower Ring. Finally, we have the elite Upper Ring citizens, people descended from families that have been wealthy for so long very few of them know what it means to actually do a day’s worth of honest work.
Lower Ring residents by Christie Tseng. Middle and Upper Ring residents by Angela Song Mueller. Cleanup by Evon Freeman. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.
Female soldiers very nearly included in Kuvira’s army in the Legend of Korra finale.
Bryan Konietzko: I made a point of having several female officers of all different ranks designed for Kuvira’s military. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they were largely left out of the final animation. I didn’t supervise the background character assigning, but as the art director I ultimately have to take the blame.
So, I’m sorry! We made them, but you just don’t see them enough. Sigh …
Mecha pilot and corporal designs by Christie Tseng. Metalbender designs by Bryan Konietzko. Private and sergeant designs by Angela Song Mueller. Cleanup by Steve Hirt. Color by Silvia Filcak-Blackwolf.
BK: Now that we have photography in the Avatar world, it is really fun to make these family photos. Bumi looks like he was in that “awkward phase,” while young Kya was ridiculously adorable. Meanwhile, Baby Tenzin was just chilling. Character art by Christie Tseng. Character tones by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. Painting by Emily Tetri.
The Krew’s Earth Kingdom wanted posters, from p. 114 of the Book 3 art book.
Caption: “Team Avatar wanted posters. Translation: ‘By Royal Decree of the Earth Queen: Wanted by Her Majesty, the Earth Queen, for crimes against the Kingdom. You will be rewarded handsomely for information leading to this criminal’s capture.’ Designs by Christie Tseng and Christine Bian. Cleanup by Steve Hirt. Translation and calligraphy by S.L. Lee, PhD. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf."
…Except that can’t be all of the translation, because the left-hand column of characters is slightly different on each poster. The differences would include each person’s name, of course… but for some reason the top three characters of the left column are the same for Mako, Bolin, and Asami (only the last two to four represent actual names–I can recognize the characters "ma” [horse] for Mako and “lin” [forest] for Bolin).
I’d really like to know what those top three characters mean. :-/
Also, for some reason Korra’s left-hand column uses only the final two of the four characters that spell “Avatar,” followed by the two characters for her name.
MD: Another location we revisit from the original series is the Southern Air Temple and its statue room. Both were significantly updated to reflect the style of Korra.
BK: I always like the idea of statues in the show, but the execution of them is another matter. It is hard to keep them drawn on model and painted well from various angles. To make matters worse, the spiral orientation of the Southern Air Temple statue room presents a tough challenge when trying to keep their placements consistent from shot to shot. I begged Mike to never write another scene in this location ever again!
Avatar statue designs by Christie Tseng. Paintings by Emily Tetri and Frederic Stewart. Wan and Raava and statue design by Bryan Konietzko. Aang statue design by Christie Tseng. Paintings by Emily Tetri.
Have you seen the space family official art piece that was posted to Josh Keaton's twitter?? It added five years to my life ...Allura is especially adorable ✨✨
yes i’ve seen it !!! and once i realized that christie tseng had put up the hd version on her twitter i made it my laptop wallpaper lol. omg i know right !!! allura is SO impossibly adorable, her lil munch and the position of her boots and the fact that her bucket of space-popcorn is on a tray in her lap asfhbkbfhj it kills me
It’s official. This is the trailer we showed at Comic con now available for everyone to see. As well as a glimpse at our exclusive lithograph that we’ll be signing at NYCC this friday. It’s got just about every character from season 1 somewhere in it and maybe just a few from season 2. It’s based of that amazing Capcom parade piece by Kinu Nishimura. Composed by Christie Tseng and drawn by pretty much everyone on the crew.
BK: Villains are always fun to create and write for, so Book Three was a blast in this regard. Mike, Tim, Josh and I got to dream up a team of baddies who represented each of the four elements, but with rare and deadly skills. The designers and I hastily cranked out concept designs so the storyboard artists would have at least rough materials to work with at the start of the new season.
Designs by Bryan Konietzko, Christie Tseng, Angela Song Mueller, and Ki-Hyun Ryu. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.
Joaquim Dos Santos: This production has more costume changes than any other show I’ve ever worked on! But how fun is it to see the characters we all know and love in their party duds?
Michael Dante DiMartino: When I was writing this episode, I knew I wanted the score to feature some of composer Jeremy Zuckerman’s jazzy tunes, so I asked him what instruments made up his ensemble and called them out in the script. And rather than have band members be generic musicians, we thought this was a funny way to bring back some of our old characters. It’s probably not the most epic return for Tahno, but it turns out he’s one heck of a trombonist!
Character designs from “The Last Stand” by Angela Song Mueller, Bryan Konietzko, Christie Tseng; instrument designs by Joseph Aguilar (The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series, Book 4: Balance, pp. 162-163).
MD: Twins seems to be an ongoing theme for us in the Avatar world. We had the elderly Lo and Li in the original series, fraternal twins Eska and Desna in Book 2, and now we have identical twins Wing and Wei, the jocks of the Beifong family. Here we see them as they were in Book 3 and three years later in Book 4. Designs and expressions by Christie Tseng. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. [x]
MD: The Airbenders are back! When Bryan, the writers, and I began discussing Book Three, one of the first ideas was to give Jinora her airbending tattoos. It’s the perfect symbol for the return of the Airbenders, and she had shown a lot of airbending and spiritual prowess. But we wanted to wait until the end of the season to do it, so we let her be the one who rallies the Airbenders to help save Korra, proving to her father that she has become a true master and leader. Designs by Angela Song Mueller and Christie Tseng. Cleanup by Steve Hirt. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.
BK: To this day i get asked if I based Aang’s design on Mike and his perfectly round, wonderfully smooth bald head. So when it came time to design the first Avatar, the joke was that I was going to base him on me: scrawny, lanky, with a narrow, triangular head. I never had hair as cool as Wan’s, but hey, it’s a fantasy. Wan concept by Bryan Konietzko. Designs by Bryan Konietzko and Christie Tseng. Cleanup by Jin-Sun Kim. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.
BK: Can you imagine having a parent like Suyin, who makes sure she and her sons have matching ninja outfits ready at a moment’s notice? Wing and Wei are ready for battle in armor similar to their mother’s. Suyin, Wei, and Wing designs by Angela Song Mueller and Christie Tseng. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. [x]
MD: When I was writing this episode, I knew I wanted the score to feature some of composer Jeremy Zuckerman’s jazzy tunes, so I asked him what instruments made up his ensemble and called them out in the script. And rather than have the band members be generic musicians, we thought this was a funny way to bring some of our old characters. It’s probably not the most epic return for Tahno, but it turns out he’s one heck of a trombonist! Tahno, council page, Gang, and instrument designs by Angela Song Mueller. Wolfbats, Hasook, Lu, and wedding server Nuktuk designs by Christie Tseng. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. [x]
BK: This wonderfully crafted family photo conveys so much about the individual characters. Wing and Wei as their own unit; Opal looking eager to please; Su radiating confidence and a hint of mischief; Baatar Sr. leaning on the strength of his wife; Huan enveloped in ennui and Baatar Jr. standing in the shadow of his father.
MD: One of the best parts about creating Book Three was developing Su Beifong and her family. In the early development of Korra, Bryan and I had the idea of an elite Metal Clan, which evolved into Su’s family. We wanted Su to be very different from her half-sister, Lin, so we gave her a more outgoing personality and five children. In order to tie the Beifongs to the main story line of rebuilding the Air Nation, we decided that Su’s daughter, Opal, should be one of the new Airbenders. Twins seems to be an ongoing theme in the Avatar world. We had the elderly Lo and Li in the original series, fraternal twins Eska and Desna in Book Two, and now we have identical twins Wing and Wei, the jocks of the Beifong family.
Original storyboard sketch by William Ruzicka. Finished design by Angela Song Mueller. Character tones by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. Background painting by Emily Tetri. Su concepts by Bryan Konietzko. Su designs by Bryan Konietzko and Christie Tseng. Beifong family designs and expressions by Bryan Konietzko, Angela Song Mueller and Christie Tseng. Cleanup by Evon Freeman. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.
BK: Mako ended up getting the most streamlined costume update for his Earth Kingdom-style bodyguard uniform. I really liked the hairstyle Il-Kwang Kim gave General Iroh in Book One, so I was pleased when Mako adopted it.
MD: It wouldn’t be a finale without characters getting their hair and clothes messed up. Mako’s am shows the painful electrical burn from taking out the giant mech’s engine. Mako concept by Ki-Hyun Ryu and Lauren Montgomery. Designs by Christie Tseng and Angela Song Mueller. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. [x]