Click to enlarge)

Breakdown / Accent / Arc

To thank for the support for our film so far, we are posting some notes on animating originally made for our animation assistants. Breakdown is a very crucial technique of animating. It is a guideline of how every action should be acted out. It involves a thinking process of “hmm, I want my character to move in this way particularly, because of the context/situation/emotion/thought… etc” 

Last but not least, breakdowns are the playground for animators. If you find these notes useful, also check out our film We Have Plenty. It’s a 2D animated film created by the students of SCAD and RISD. Please support us on Kickstarter and help us spread the word! We will be back for more notes on animation! 

hi guys!  for a long time i’ve wanted to draw katara in her fancy earth kingdom garb, and i’ve finally decided to do it–drawing reference from one of my favorite costumes in the legend of zhen huan.  this is one of the first times i’ve drawn clothing and liked the outcome, so that’s fun.  i also tried to draw katara as young as she was on the show (instead of aging her to an adult, like i normally do when i draw avatar characters).

 (anyway, if you liked this piece, consider commissioning me for something similar!)


The incredibly illustrious character designer Phil Rynda and I will be giving back-to-back lectures at RISD on Wednesday, February 4th, in the Main Auditorium. Both talks are free and open to the public, however seating is limited so get there early! Apparently at my last RISD talk in October of 2013 there were people turned away due to fire code regulations. Don’t let it happen to you!

7:30 pm – Bryan Konietzko

9:00 pm – Phil Rynda

Phil is a really cool guy who I just met and started getting to know last year when he joined Nickelodeon as the Vice President of Artist Development. He is generously coming out to RISD to help me as a guest critic in the final reviews for my class, and he is extra-generously giving a lecture that I can’t wait to see. We’ve been looking at his work a lot in my class.

My last RISD lecture was about my whole artistic journey from school to show-creating/-running, but this time I am planning to focus solely on the making of The Legend of Korra, and then outline some advice for getting into and thriving within the animation industry. If you saw my last talk in 10/13, there will undoubtedly be a bit of overlap but I’ll do my best to make it fresh!

Phil Rynda will talk about his career in animation as well as his character design process, showing his own work as well as other examples. Phil will hold a Q&A after his lecture (not me, though!).

I cleaned up, colored, and Raava-ized my poster image based on a Korra sketch by Lauren Montgomery. Michael Kolendowicz at RISD did a lovely job with the type and layout.

I hope to see you at the lectures!


“I keep trying to put as much of that classical drawing into everything I do. If I’m drawing the Beast, I’m studying Rodin before doing that. With Ariel, I mean I absolutely love François Boucher – his drawing style. [….] I realised that all the roots of everything that I love at Disney was actually done by classical artists before, so that’s how I’ve grown, through exposing myself to classical artists.” – Glen Keane (x)

HEY GUYS I know this is a long shot, but if anyone lives in/around Providence, Rhode Island, USA, PLEASE keep an eye out for this kitty.  His name is Cass and he’s super friendly and probably very afraid since he never goes outside.  I love this cat you guys.  The phone number on the poster is to Shelby, who is his owner and my friend/roommate.  If found, please call her!  


Milt Kahl’s words of wisdom for aspiring animators. (x)

Oh, and regarding this mysterious Don Graham fellow…

According to Andreas Deja, “Don Graham was head of Disney’s internal training program from 1932 - 1940. Chuck Jones called him the greatest American art teacher. The closest you will ever come to his teachings is through his excellent 1970 book Composing Pictures. It is in reprint and available at Amazon.”

Click here for the Amazon listing for Composing Pictures.

After 7 days and 2,301 miles, Gunther and I made it to Providence, Rhode Island. I’ll be teaching a 5-week Wintersession course, “Design for TV Animation,” at my alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I have wanted to teach there ever since I was a student, and the timing finally worked out, though it is just a short stint. This is my first time teaching, so here goes nothing!


Two screenprinted posters I made about two of my favorite albums/title tracks by my absolute favorite band, The Mountain Goats. It was cool to consider the imagery that occurs to me when I listen to this wildly evocatve music, but I’m sure that different imagery occurs to other folks.

Window facing
An ill-kept front yard
Plums on the tree
Heavy with nectar

Transfiguration’s going to come for me at last
And I will burn hotter than the sun