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Reblogged from bryankonietzko  349 notes
bryankonietzko:

Thanks to everyone who came out to the talk/Q&A/signing last night! Such a nice, generous, and patient group of folks. We signed for 3.5 hours straight, until the store closed! I think that’s a record for us, or tied with our ATLA art book signing at Golden Apple a few years back. Thanks to Dark Horse for helping to organize the event, and for the great staff at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove L.A. for hosting us and managing several floors worth of lines. It was great to meet everyone and see some familiar faces. And a huge thanks for all the cool, thoughtful gifts and fanart! Basically, THANKS!

This was a fun event that was moderated independently between the four show runners!   Fans asked some great questions, too, (including lots of love for Bolin, two questions about the Equalist plotline (not coming back), and advocacy for the inclusion of more female characters.)   I don’t think the Barnes & Noble employees expected such a huge crowd, but they did a great job wrangling us.   The creators showed a lot of dedication to the fans, sketching for so many of us!

bryankonietzko:

Thanks to everyone who came out to the talk/Q&A/signing last night! Such a nice, generous, and patient group of folks. We signed for 3.5 hours straight, until the store closed! I think that’s a record for us, or tied with our ATLA art book signing at Golden Apple a few years back. Thanks to Dark Horse for helping to organize the event, and for the great staff at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove L.A. for hosting us and managing several floors worth of lines. It was great to meet everyone and see some familiar faces. And a huge thanks for all the cool, thoughtful gifts and fanart! Basically, THANKS!

This was a fun event that was moderated independently between the four show runners! Fans asked some great questions, too, (including lots of love for Bolin, two questions about the Equalist plotline (not coming back), and advocacy for the inclusion of more female characters.) I don’t think the Barnes & Noble employees expected such a huge crowd, but they did a great job wrangling us. The creators showed a lot of dedication to the fans, sketching for so many of us!

Reblogged from bryankonietzko  11,318 notes
bryankonietzko:

I am excited to share with you the art for our official San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Korra Book 2: Spirits poster, which will be a free giveaway at the Nickelodeon booth. Thanks to Ryu Ki-Hyun for the beautiful drawing, which I colored, and also to Frederic Stewart, whose luscious production background painting we used for the piece.
After our panel on Friday, July 19th (one week from today!), running 11:15am-12:15pm in Ballroom 20, we will be doing a signing of this poster at the Nick booth from 12:45-2:15pm. Looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible, and even if you can’t make it to the signing, try to swing by the Nick booth during the Con to grab a poster.
More cool announcements to come!

bryankonietzko:

I am excited to share with you the art for our official San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Korra Book 2: Spirits poster, which will be a free giveaway at the Nickelodeon booth. Thanks to Ryu Ki-Hyun for the beautiful drawing, which I colored, and also to Frederic Stewart, whose luscious production background painting we used for the piece.

After our panel on Friday, July 19th (one week from today!), running 11:15am-12:15pm in Ballroom 20, we will be doing a signing of this poster at the Nick booth from 12:45-2:15pm. Looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible, and even if you can’t make it to the signing, try to swing by the Nick booth during the Con to grab a poster.

More cool announcements to come!

To the AtLA fandom: re the Bryan post

irresistible-revolution:

everyone who’s lashing out at POC fans because we complain too much, I want you to consider this:

Bryan just took the time and energy to explain something in the spirit of transparency and accountability; while I don’t agree with everything he said regarding educating people, I do appreciate the time and effort he took to address this important issue instead of sweeping it under the rug

now look at the reblogs on this post

look at the commentary by people, the anger and disgust

simply because Bryan took the time to address POC fans, to respect our concerns, to talk to us instead of dismissing us

yet even this basic respect is regarded as ‘too much’ by many fans

so how do you expect us to calmly and patiently educate every single artist who whitewashes AtLA, when y’all are so upset that someone respects us enough to address us?

do you see why ‘educating’ people without any iota of anger or frustration on our part might not be a feasible option at all times?

do you see the obstacles we have to face, the resistance to even the slightest respect afforded to us?

Quick skim of the comments yields multiple iterations of “social justice [pejorative]”

(Some of my personal rough thoughts about Bryan Konietzko’s blog post on skin color and Avatar characters…excuse the stream of consciousness here)

First of all, this was an incredible post for a creator of any television series to make; it shows how much attention the the production places on fan feedback.  Not all productions are that conscientious.  Nor do all creators prioritize diversity or state that they are “all for social justice” (these are actually very controversial positions.)   The post was thorough in providing resources to fan artists and explanations of color theory and how the show approaches contrast and lighting.

I am really thankful for this post, particularly since I’ve been in this fandom for a long time and experienced a lot of the stress and heartbreak around advocacy for diversity in this franchise.   Particularly since Mr. Konietzko is so high profile, being willing to publicly write about these things (from the timestamp it looks like he finished at 2:30am)—especially in an interactive forum like tumblr— takes a huge amount of courage and willingness to be vulnerable, and to be open.  

I definitely felt a swell of emotion when reading his post because like many Avatar fans, and like many people of color who consume media, I’ve learned to be hypervigilant about whitewashing in media and all the different forms it can show up in, from magazine covers lightening celebrities, to misrepresentative book covers, to the Banes, Khans, Tontos, Shredders, and Ongs in Big Hollywood.

The sting of whitewashing doesn’t come from the act itself but from the context in which these acts thrive in:  colorism, shadeism, racism, etc. and all of it’s histories, legacies, and current manifestations.

I trudge all this up because I think Mr. Konietzko’s call to “inform, educate, open minds, and promote empathy and equality” is an important one!  It’s definitely something I strive for in my personal, professional, and fandom life.   There’s a ton of negative energy around jumping to false conclusions and around self-righteous condemnation.    But I think where I personally fall short, and where I think many people probably fall short, is the “before you get your feelings hurt" part of the post.

That’s something I’m not able to control.  Put me in an MRI scan or swab my cheek for cortisol and I’m sure my brain will light up.

Microaggressions like whitewashing are painful.  It may be just a thrown pebble, or maybe just a pebble carelessly kicked up in the wake of someone else’s excitement, but those pebbles can still sting and I still flinch.    Maybe not everyone else does—people can numb themselves or acclimate themselves from that sting.  (I’d like to see how it looks in an MRI!)

I can’t control that part.  I can choose how to react.

I can’t control how I feel about perceiving—because this is about perception—whitewashing.   I can choose how to react.

How I’ve chosen to react has been very deliberate.   I know how easy it is to come off as an extremist or to be dismissed over tone.  The way I try to approach people is not dissimilar from what Mr. Konietzko is advocating for.   But people express hurt and pain in a number of different ways, and over and over again people of color and their allies have been told how to express that pain in ways deemed appropriate for the very people who did the thing that hurt them…

I can’t suppress that sting I experience when I see whitewashing.  I can only stifle my response.   But sometimes no matter how friendly, no matter how educational, how enlightening you want to be, you still get called a racial slur or a gendered slur or both or all at once.  How do you choose to react to that?  When does the other person also share accountability?

I don’t know if fans will actually use the hex color for Korra to “police” other fans about their artwork; I’d rather that didn’t have to happen because I’d rather people fight the tendency to whitewash to begin with.  

I look back at all of the sketchbooks I doodled in and I realize that about 60% of the characters I drew were white, 30% were Asian (I’m Asian American) and maybe 10% were other people of color.   I reflect on the art classes I took when I was a kid and realized that not once were we assigned to draw a person of color; all of the models we were asked to practice on were white, all of the paintings of people we drew were white.  As a result, I’m probably better at drawing white people than I am at drawing Asian people.   I think about all of the coloring books I had as a kid and that perhaps aside from any Aladdin stuff the characters we colored were white.  I remember being six years old and angry that my new marker set did not have a “skin” tone to color with even though there were 72 different markers including 4 different shades of brown.  

And that’s just the art classes and art supplies and art education (which I was privileged enough to have at all), it’s not my grandmother yelling at me to put on a hat so I don’t turn “too dark”, it’s not being told I’m too dark for my ethnicity, it’s not the skin bleaching creams, and not the “color-corrected” glamour shots I took at the local mall, and it’s not wanting to look porcelain even though porcelain is fragile.   That’s just the art skill set.

This shows up subconsciously when I doodle and color self portraits.   Even when I’m consciously trying to be accurate to my skin tone (and really there is no excuse—my hand is like right next to the canvas/iPad/etc.!) I inevitably end up making myself a couple of shades lighter in a way that is completely subconscious. These internalized attitudes about skin tone are hard to shake.    Which is why it is so important to recognize it.

So there’s the other side of it, the side where as a artist I also have to acknowledge my own shortcomings and my own tendencies to whitewash.  (These resources suddenly become invaluable for creating Korra art.)  No one likes to be called “a racist” because in our society we equate racism with being a bad person; if we don’t feel we are bad people, the instinct is to automatically resist such an allegation.   

If someone tells you meekly…or screeches at you…that you’ve kicked pebbles at them in your excited race to create art, you can’t control that awful feeling that comes with being accused of perpetuating racism (something that may be against your belief system) but you can control how you respond.

If there’s anything I’d want to add to Mr. Konietzko’s post, it’s that.  

If someone is trying to communicate with you that your art or your decisions are hurtful, no matter how they are going about doing it, they are coming from a position of vulnerability.    Societal mores totally dump on people who raise concerns about things like sexism and racism, particularly more so when it’s viewed as something “trivial” like fan art.    Starting this conversation about whitewashing and art is hard!   Whatever way they’re trying to communicate, please try and approach what they are saying with empathy and an open heart.  You may feel it is important to defend your art, but for them there may be something more at stake—they may be fighting for the right to be seen at all, to be represented, to not have their experiences with their skin tone invalidated.   There’s so much to learn and so many things that still need to be bridged.   Do this, and it becomes so much easier for people who are concerned about whitewashing to to do what Mr. Konietzko is advocating for.

-M

irresistible-revolution:

avataraang:

dongbufeng:

bryankonietzko:

This past Friday I published this post which featured a photo of a monitor showing Katara and Aang’s grown-up children, Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin. Later that night at work I saw Colin’s answer to an anonymous “ask” (I can’t figure out how to link or reblog it properly in my browser, so the screen shot at the top will have to suffice). It is a shame the anonymous asker drew an incorrect assumption based on one image created in relatively uncontrolled conditions, and I feel that Colin’s answer hit the nail on the head.

Normally I would leave it at that. I prefer to stay out of this type of discourse on Tumblr and let the large body of work Mike and I have put out there over the years speak for itself (which obviously DOES NOT include the gross misinterpretations and misrepresentations of our work in this guy’s work). There’s nothing perfect about me or my work, but I am proud of it and the diverse, inclusive, atypical-for-American-TV world it portrays and the characters that populate it, and what it means to many people all over this globe.

But, like most people, I don’t like seeing the spreading of misinformation, nor being falsely accused of something, nor fans of Avatar and Korra believing we have let them down regarding a very sensitive issue when they are mistaken. The claim that “none of Katara and Aang’s kids share Katara’s complexion” is unequivocally false. Kya’s color model shares the exact same skin color as Katara’s; Tenzin’s skin is a touch darker and less saturated than Aang’s; and Bumi’s is just about in the middle of his siblings’. I made a color swatch chart above, with all the colors taken directly from the characters’ normal color models. I included Korra’s and her parents’ skin tones on there as well, just for reference. I also compiled screen shots of all the characters with the color picker open, sampling their skin tones. You can see for yourself that Katara and her daughter Kya share the same color code: #bd916f

Depicting diverse characters is an issue that is very important to me. But as an art director, depicting a variety of lighting situations, light temperatures, colored light sources, color atmospheres, contrast levels, dynamic ranges, tinted filters, tones, styles, moods, exposure settings, diffusion levels, etc., is all very important to me too, all in an attempt to make great, inspired, sophisticated, beautiful art that reflects something of the complex world in which we live.

Real flesh and blood skin is shiny in places, matte in others, translucent, reflective, uneven, smooth in places, textured in others. It reacts to light and color in such complex ways that while most people rarely even think about it in our normal day experiences, the properties are so intricate and subtle that mastering its accurate representation eludes students of painting such as myself for years on end. On the other hand, 2D cartoon character skin is a flat field of projected or printed color. It is an abstracted, simplified representation. If one adds lighting to a 2D animated character, that whole color field of skin tone is lightened––uniformly, unless you apply a the few limited techniques at our disposal in TV animation involving gradations. If one adds lighting to real flesh and blood skin, highlights and core shadows are formed, light models surfaces and bounces onto others, colors are reflected from surrounding objects… on and on. 3D animation certainly has many more tools at its disposal to depict skin in a realistic fashion, but even that isn’t a cakewalk and many attempts plummet into the uncanny valley.

As Colin made reference to, color theory is an incredibly fascinating, frustrating, and bewildering pursuit. I’ve been studying and trying to apply it for twenty years, and I’m still in its awe. There are so many factors to consider before trusting your own perception. For example, in the image above with the characters’ heads, Kya’s skin appears to my eye to be slightly lighter than Katara’s, despite the fact that I know they are absolutely the same color. This is most likely due to the effect of simultaneous contrast, also known as contrast effect: in simple terms, colors are pushed lighter, darker, warmer, and cooler based on what other colors are next to them. I’ve taken a sample of Korra’s normal skin tone and applied it to an illustration with a painted background and all of a sudden it looks green. On another background it might appear gray. Or bright orange. The average 2D animated show out there in the world has stock normal color models for its characters that they use for almost every scene (occasionally with a “night” version that is a bit darker and cooler). Typically the character models are presented in a vacuum, with no change in lighting, atmosphere, contrast, etc… no regard for any of the artistic properties mentioned above that I am trying to utilize in my animation art direction.

I’m not going to make that kind of show. Instead, I’m going to add lighting, change contrast levels, mix up the colors of light sources, try to inject some atmosphere into the world we’re creating. And as a result, characters’ skin tones are going to appear different depending on the context of the scene. The colors on a normal color model sheet are what’s called local color in color theory. This is the color of an object in neutral, even light. But it’s just a starting point, a flat color field in a vacuum. On Avatar we dialed every single color model from its normal model to match the lighting and color atmosphere of the background painting for each sequence in all sixty-one episodes. On Korra we do that too, and take it many steps further by adding lighting and atmosphere effects in the compositing stage, all in a pursuit of a dramatic, cinematic aesthetic. Sometimes it works out and I’m satisfied with the results. Sometimes the effects are too heavy-handed and even I’m saying, “His/her skin looks too light!” Unfortunately, this is a TV show production where we are frantically making dozens of episodes at once and we don’t get to finesse the final composites like they are able to do in feature productions. I fix what I can in retakes and color correction, but there’s only so much I can do. But I’d rather have a few fumbles in the pursuit of good art than make a flat show with no lighting or atmosphere.

And I enjoy sharing sneak peeks of the work we’re making with you guys, which often means I take a snapshot on my iPhone or DSLR of a screen and post it on Tumblr. Take a look at the last compilation of images above to see how differently colors, particularly skin tones, can vary depending on their sources. This opens up another vastly complex subject of which I am a frustrated student: photography. Take color theory and multiply it by optical engineering and then by computer science and then pull all of your hair out as you try to get your meticulously processed photo to appear the same color and contrast level on a variety of digital devices and non-color-managed web browsers and non-color-calibrated monitors. Or try the simpler task of taking a picture of something on a TV screen and see how different the photo looks than the image you saw. Everything goes out the window. While you’re at it, take digital pictures of the same red apple at different times of day, in different rooms, under different lights, outside in different weather. Then pull all of those photos into your computer and make color swatches of what you thought you knew to be “red.” Then try painting a picture of that apple using just those sampled color swatches. You’ll start to see how complex this all is.

I am all for social justice and breaking down ignorance and oppressive, hurtful social constructs, particularly when the path to that is to inform, educate, open minds, and promote empathy and equality. I am not a fan of self-righteousness in any form and I struggle to keep from drifting in that direction with my own views and convictions. The internet provides a great platform to call BS on a lot of things, and I encourage people to use it for that. But now that you have the official local color swatches of these characters’ “normal” skin tones in the image above, I can assure you that using it like some Behr color chip ammunition to lambast every fanart depiction of Korra that doesn’t match #a08365 is a flawed pursuit. Ask yourself if any of the things listed above in this post might be factoring into a color variation before you shoot from the hip with your judgement. And if the depiction of Korra in some fanart is without a doubt offensive to you, consider phrasing your response in a way that could help them see it your way. Art is hard! Maybe he or she is trying to get the hang of painting and working with color (skin being one of the hardest things to master). Maybe he or she is still ignorant to the worldly views that are obvious and significant to you. You could take this opportunity to turn it into what they call in parenting “a teaching moment.” You could open some eyes and educate someone who might turn around and share their enlightenment with many others.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of all there is to discuss on this topic in this overlong post. But I urge you to consider any number of the factors listed and described above before you jump to false conclusions, get your feelings hurt, or lash out with self-righteous condemnation based on a variable rather than a constant.

Love, Bryan

Post from Bryan that stands on its own. But two things to note in addition to its main content:

1) “which obviously DOES NOT include the gross misinterpretations and misrepresentations of our work in this guy’s work

—Mike and Bryan have never publicly critiszed M Night Shayamalan before and these are harsh words.

2) He tags the post with “kataang babies” 

Wow, make sure you guys read the whole post. That M.Night thing is pretty explosive!

I really appreciiate this post. and I really appreciate Bryan taking the time to explain to the fandom. I’m happy that he acknowledges the importance of depicting brown-skinned characters.

I do however want to raise a mild objection to the suggestion that ‘Art is hard’ and that we should always seek to educate people who whitewash the AtLA/ LoK characters. I’ve been in this fandom for almost a year now, and the whitewashing is sadly rampant. And those of us who speak out and call out the artists are recipients of hateful messages, dismissal, insults and all manner of disrespectful behaviour not just from the artist but from the artist’s fans. This has happened to me numerous times. This is the reason blogs like Korra is not Tan and Stop Whitewashing exist.

Furthermore, whitewashing is an extremely hurtful issue that hits a deep-seated emotional vein for many, many POC who grew up hearing light-skin praised to the skies. To ask every single POC who encounters whitewashed fanart to swallow their pain and hand-hold these artists through race/representation issues, is an unfair demand. Yes art is hard! But when an artist deliberately lightens someone’s skin, or causes hurt and offence because of wilful or passive ignorance, the onus is on THEM to make amends to the community, not those whom they have hurt by their (however non-malevolent) actions. I’m not an artist but I’m a writer, so I have some understanding of the complexity of the creative process. A while ago I wrote a poem based on Disney’s Pocahontas that turned out very offensive to several Indigenous bloggers on Tumblr. When I was called out, I was of course hurt because I wrote the poem from a completely different perspective and with a lot of love and thought. HOWEVER, I still hurt and offended people, and it was my responsibility to apologize and listen no matter how much it hurt my pride.

I’m really glad you’re on Tumblr, Bryan. I’m happy that you believe in holding yourself accountable to the fans on this incredibly important issue. I do want to urge you however to peruse the blogs of some fans who’ve been fighting the whitewashing in this fandom for a long time, the kinds of responses we’ve received, the kind of negative energy and outright dismissal that makes fandom feel unsafe for many POC.

AtLA is precious to me, and to many other fans of color, in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. For this reason, and others, the issue of whitewashing is a hurtful and contentious one, and it’s only through holding members of our community accountable that we can hope to move forward.

Insightful fan response to BK’s thorough post.

Reblogged from bryankonietzko  24,673 notes

bryankonietzko:

This past Friday I published this post which featured a photo of a monitor showing Katara and Aang’s grown-up children, Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin. Later that night at work I saw Colin’s answer to an anonymous “ask” (I can’t figure out how to link or reblog it properly in my browser, so the screen shot at the top will have to suffice). It is a shame the anonymous asker drew an incorrect assumption based on one image created in relatively uncontrolled conditions, and I feel that Colin’s answer hit the nail on the head.

Normally I would leave it at that. I prefer to stay out of this type of discourse on Tumblr and let the large body of work Mike and I have put out there over the years speak for itself (which obviously DOES NOT include the gross misinterpretations and misrepresentations of our work in this guy’s work). There’s nothing perfect about me or my work, but I am proud of it and the diverse, inclusive, atypical-for-American-TV world it portrays and the characters that populate it, and what it means to many people all over this globe.

But, like most people, I don’t like seeing the spreading of misinformation, nor being falsely accused of something, nor fans of Avatar and Korra believing we have let them down regarding a very sensitive issue when they are mistaken. The claim that “none of Katara and Aang’s kids share Katara’s complexion” is unequivocally false. Kya’s color model shares the exact same skin color as Katara’s; Tenzin’s skin is a touch darker and less saturated than Aang’s; and Bumi’s is just about in the middle of his siblings’. I made a color swatch chart above, with all the colors taken directly from the characters’ normal color models. I included Korra’s and her parents’ skin tones on there as well, just for reference. I also compiled screen shots of all the characters with the color picker open, sampling their skin tones. You can see for yourself that Katara and her daughter Kya share the same color code: #bd916f

Depicting diverse characters is an issue that is very important to me. But as an art director, depicting a variety of lighting situations, light temperatures, colored light sources, color atmospheres, contrast levels, dynamic ranges, tinted filters, tones, styles, moods, exposure settings, diffusion levels, etc., is all very important to me too, all in an attempt to make great, inspired, sophisticated, beautiful art that reflects something of the complex world in which we live.

Real flesh and blood skin is shiny in places, matte in others, translucent, reflective, uneven, smooth in places, textured in others. It reacts to light and color in such complex ways that while most people rarely even think about it in our normal day experiences, the properties are so intricate and subtle that mastering its accurate representation eludes students of painting such as myself for years on end. On the other hand, 2D cartoon character skin is a flat field of projected or printed color. It is an abstracted, simplified representation. If one adds lighting to a 2D animated character, that whole color field of skin tone is lightened––uniformly, unless you apply a the few limited techniques at our disposal in TV animation involving gradations. If one adds lighting to real flesh and blood skin, highlights and core shadows are formed, light models surfaces and bounces onto others, colors are reflected from surrounding objects… on and on. 3D animation certainly has many more tools at its disposal to depict skin in a realistic fashion, but even that isn’t a cakewalk and many attempts plummet into the uncanny valley.

As Colin made reference to, color theory is an incredibly fascinating, frustrating, and bewildering pursuit. I’ve been studying and trying to apply it for twenty years, and I’m still in its awe. There are so many factors to consider before trusting your own perception. For example, in the image above with the characters’ heads, Kya’s skin appears to my eye to be slightly lighter than Katara’s, despite the fact that I know they are absolutely the same color. This is most likely due to the effect of simultaneous contrast, also known as contrast effect: in simple terms, colors are pushed lighter, darker, warmer, and cooler based on what other colors are next to them. I’ve taken a sample of Korra’s normal skin tone and applied it to an illustration with a painted background and all of a sudden it looks green. On another background it might appear gray. Or bright orange. The average 2D animated show out there in the world has stock normal color models for its characters that they use for almost every scene (occasionally with a “night” version that is a bit darker and cooler). Typically the character models are presented in a vacuum, with no change in lighting, atmosphere, contrast, etc… no regard for any of the artistic properties mentioned above that I am trying to utilize in my animation art direction.

I’m not going to make that kind of show. Instead, I’m going to add lighting, change contrast levels, mix up the colors of light sources, try to inject some atmosphere into the world we’re creating. And as a result, characters’ skin tones are going to appear different depending on the context of the scene. The colors on a normal color model sheet are what’s called local color in color theory. This is the color of an object in neutral, even light. But it’s just a starting point, a flat color field in a vacuum. On Avatar we dialed every single color model from its normal model to match the lighting and color atmosphere of the background painting for each sequence in all sixty-one episodes. On Korra we do that too, and take it many steps further by adding lighting and atmosphere effects in the compositing stage, all in a pursuit of a dramatic, cinematic aesthetic. Sometimes it works out and I’m satisfied with the results. Sometimes the effects are too heavy-handed and even I’m saying, “His/her skin looks too light!” Unfortunately, this is a TV show production where we are frantically making dozens of episodes at once and we don’t get to finesse the final composites like they are able to do in feature productions. I fix what I can in retakes and color correction, but there’s only so much I can do. But I’d rather have a few fumbles in the pursuit of good art than make a flat show with no lighting or atmosphere.

And I enjoy sharing sneak peeks of the work we’re making with you guys, which often means I take a snapshot on my iPhone or DSLR of a screen and post it on Tumblr. Take a look at the last compilation of images above to see how differently colors, particularly skin tones, can vary depending on their sources. This opens up another vastly complex subject of which I am a frustrated student: photography. Take color theory and multiply it by optical engineering and then by computer science and then pull all of your hair out as you try to get your meticulously processed photo to appear the same color and contrast level on a variety of digital devices and non-color-managed web browsers and non-color-calibrated monitors. Or try the simpler task of taking a picture of something on a TV screen and see how different the photo looks than the image you saw. Everything goes out the window. While you’re at it, take digital pictures of the same red apple at different times of day, in different rooms, under different lights, outside in different weather. Then pull all of those photos into your computer and make color swatches of what you thought you knew to be “red.” Then try painting a picture of that apple using just those sampled color swatches. You’ll start to see how complex this all is.

I am all for social justice and breaking down ignorance and oppressive, hurtful social constructs, particularly when the path to that is to inform, educate, open minds, and promote empathy and equality. I am not a fan of self-righteousness in any form and I struggle to keep from drifting in that direction with my own views and convictions. The internet provides a great platform to call BS on a lot of things, and I encourage people to use it for that. But now that you have the official local color swatches of these characters’ “normal” skin tones in the image above, I can assure you that using it like some Behr color chip ammunition to lambast every fanart depiction of Korra that doesn’t match #a08365 is a flawed pursuit. Ask yourself if any of the things listed above in this post might be factoring into a color variation before you shoot from the hip with your judgement. And if the depiction of Korra in some fanart is without a doubt offensive to you, consider phrasing your response in a way that could help them see it your way. Art is hard! Maybe he or she is trying to get the hang of painting and working with color (skin being one of the hardest things to master). Maybe he or she is still ignorant to the worldly views that are obvious and significant to you. You could take this opportunity to turn it into what they call in parenting “a teaching moment.” You could open some eyes and educate someone who might turn around and share their enlightenment with many others.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of all there is to discuss on this topic in this overlong post. But I urge you to consider any number of the factors listed and described above before you jump to false conclusions, get your feelings hurt, or lash out with self-righteous condemnation based on a variable rather than a constant.

Love, Bryan

Bryan Konietzko directly addresses fan concerns about whitewashing and shares some thoughts and information about the production. A must-read for Avatar fans and for anyone who is interested in diversity in character animation.

(And whoa he was up until 2:30am writing this?!?!)

Let’s see some First Nations/Native American actors in Legend of Korra: Book Two!

Something that really set Avatar: The Last Airbender apart from other Asian-based animated series was the show’s talented voice acting cast.    As Asian American viewers, we particularly appreciated that the show cast so many talented Asian American voice actors, including Dante Basco and Mako!    

With voice actors, there is a lot more versatility in casting because the actor is primarily providing the voice, not the visual character design.   Fittingly, the voice cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender was diverse in many ways.  That being said, it was still meaningful to see so many Asian American actors featured on the series, playing many of the Asian characters.  

With the announcement that the next season of Legend of Korra will be set in the Inuit-inspired Southern Water Tribe, we know that the show will introduce many new Water Tribe characters.   Just as it is rare for Asian American voice actors to have the opportunity to play Asian-inspired characters, it’s also rare for First Nations voice actors to have the opportunity to play characters inspired by their cultures.   The talent is out there waiting to be discovered, and we look forward to seeing it showcased in Book Two!

Reblog if you support increasing the visibility of First Nations/Native American actors in Legend of Korra!

Reblogged from bryankonietzko  5,425 notes
bryankonietzko:

DUKES UP
EDIT: I caught a note that pointed out this pose isn’t good form for fighting. You are correct, sir/madam/other! You wouldn’t want to be this square to your opponent, unless perhaps you were trying to draw he/she/other in to engage. This started as a study from a photo of a female fighter in a pre-fight staredown pose, where the only criteria is looking like a badass.

bryankonietzko:

DUKES UP

EDIT: I caught a note that pointed out this pose isn’t good form for fighting. You are correct, sir/madam/other! You wouldn’t want to be this square to your opponent, unless perhaps you were trying to draw he/she/other in to engage. This started as a study from a photo of a female fighter in a pre-fight staredown pose, where the only criteria is looking like a badass.

Signal Boosting for Stolen Avatar Poster

My car was broken into today (7/21) at a mall in Orange County, CA and a poster I got signed at San Diego ComicCon (and was going to give to my younger brother) was stolen.

It’s the one of the old Gaang that reads “old friends” and it was signed by Bryke, Joaquim, Ryu, and Gurihuru. (Different from the ones that were from the first signing with the signatures from the actors.) If you see it on eBay coming out of a city in Southern California please let me know so I can get the police detective to follow up. (Especially if the seller is also selling a signed copy of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe or a GPS.)

My brother and I are pretty bummed that the poster is gone but at least no one was hurt. If you see the poster on eBay, please message me and let me know! Thank you! -Marissa

Last week, more people watched “The Legend of Korra” than “Game of Thrones”

The little show that could!  The Legend of Korra was the #1 scripted cable program last week.  It happens to be an animated Nickelodeon series that features a woman of color in the lead role. 

More people watched Korra than watched Game of Thrones (the second place scripted show.)  While GoT has an HBO premium cable audience, that is still pretty damn impressive.

Congrats to Bryke and your awesome team!