sylvia filcak blackwolf

10

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.

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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.

4

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. 

6

MD: Following in Avatar Aang’s footsteps is a hard act to follow, but as soon as we started talking about ideas for Korra’s character, we knew she would be a worthy successor. We wanted her to be headstrong and aggressive, someone who would never back away from a fight. But we gave her a vulnerable side too.
BK: For Korra’s final design recipe, Joaquim provided the majority of the ingredients, Ryu added the spice, and I merely baked it all together. 
Korra concepts by Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki-Hyun Ryu, and Bryan Konietzko. Color by Bryan Konietzko and Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. 

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9

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.

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2

BK: Noatak and Tarrlok at their different young ages. I was expecting the task of designing young Noatak at all of these ages to be a real challenge, but Il-Kwang and Jin-Sun hit the nail on the head from the get-go. I was so relieved that I happily approved the designs and moved on to the next task, never noticing until the animation came back that he had the exact same hairstyle as our hero, Korra! I decided it was a kind of interesting and unexpected connection between Korra and Noatak/Amon, showing that despite how different they are in the present, the come from very similar cultural backgrounds. Tarrlok apparently sprouted an additional ponytail every few years. Expressions by Ki-Hyun Ryu and Il-Kwang Kim. Designs by Il-Kwang Kim and Jin-Sun Kim. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.

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2

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]

5

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. 

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6

MD: For our fourth and final antagonist, we were looking to have a female character who was physically similar to korra. We wanted our hero to have to face the shadow version of herself-a woman who was fierce, uncompromising, and a bending heavyweight. Kuvira brought a lot of new story and character possibilities to the table, and I really enjoyed writing the female hero/villain dynamic. There was a lot of talk in the first storyboard meeting about how Kuvira’s metal armor could be used in battle. To give her lots of ammo, we decided she should have thin strips of metal stacked on her back and upper arms. As she bends one piece of metal, another strip is revealed, ready for the next strike. I cannot remember if it was written into the script, but Kuvira’s arm blade and whip seemed to be natural extensions of her impressive ability to manipulate metal.

BK: Above is one of the first concepts I did of Kuvira, back during Book Three when we knew we were going to weave her into the story as a background character. I had been wanting to do a military dictator as a villain for a long time, so it was fun to finally play around with what the uniform motifs would be. When we were casting the character, we had a couple of pieces of concept art to show the actors. Zelda Williams, who ended up getting the part and played it wonderfully, said, “Hey she looks like me!” I thought the exact same thing when she walked into the studio. Later she told me her mother even has the same beauty mark under her eye. I really liked how Kuvira looked with her hair down, and it helped to sell this hallucination where Korra once again sees the “Dark Avatar” version of herself in her opponent. Kuvira expressions and concepts by Ki-Hyun Ryu, Lauren Montgomery, and Bryan Konietzko.  Designs by Angela Song Mueller and Joseph Aguilar. Cleanup by Steve Hirt. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. [x]

3

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.

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4

JDS: Eska and Desna are two of the more memorable characters from Book Two. Their designs were a bit tough to break. I can remember seeing earlier versions of these characters on Josh Middleton’s computer for nearly a month as he struggled to pin down their look. Everyone was chipping in ideas and I believe we even went so far as to get full character turns made based on those previous takes. But they just did not feel right. It was not until Ryu took a pass and gave them their distinctive bunch and dead-eyed expression that the characters finally came to life. If I remember correctly, Josh came up with the slit in their long sleeves that allowed their arms free range of movement, which I thought was a nice touch. Eska and Desna concpets by Ki-Hyun Ryu. Designs by Ki-Hyun Ryu and Josh Middleton. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf and Bryan Konietzko. 

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7

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. 

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3

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]

2

BK: Maybe it started with Han and Luke dressed as stormtroopers in Star Wars, but I’ve always enjoyed seeing our good guys wearing bad guy clothes minus the headgear. We did it plenty on Avatar, and the trend continues here with Mako and Korra in chi-blocker uniforms. Designs by Il-Kwang Kim and Jin-Sun kim. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. 

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3

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]

2

MD: It was fun, and also a little surreal, to imagine the characters from the old series all grown up. Everyone always assumes my bald head was the inspiration for young Aang, so when it came time to draw forty-year-old Aang, Bryan took one look at my beard and worked it into the design. Maybe someday I’ll look as tall and buff as Aang. 
JDS: Sokka and Toph were my absolute two favorite characters in the
Avatar universe, and while i had nothing to do with their older redesigns, as a fan I was super excited to see what Il-Kwang and Jin-Sun came up with. You’ll notice Toph wearing the early version of the Metalbenders’ cable harness. I think the designers really knocked it out of the park. How cool was it to see all these characters you know and love as adults?!
Designs by Ki-Hyun Ryu, Il-Kwang Kim, and Jin-Sun Kim. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf. 

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3

JDS: 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? Designs by Bryan Konietzko, Angela Song Mueller, and Christie Tseng. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf and Bryan Konietzko. [x]

2

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]

4

MD: Seeing all these concepts of Asami’s outfit together really reminds me how important a character’s costume is and how it helps illustrate his or her personality and role in the story. I love the final version, which is a nice balance of formal business attire and fashion-forward elegance. Asami concepts and designs by Lauren Montgomery, Christie Tseng, and Bryan Konietzko. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf and Bryan Konietzko. [x]