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[Rokudai] - Siku Kesuk Concepts

Concept art of Siku Kesuk for my fiction project 'What We Learned at Rokudai.'
Designs by me, artwork drawn by SqueakyE on commission.
Tumblr upload here.

Other artwork of this character:
(Rokudai) - Siku Kesuk Concept (HinoKit) by Destiny-Smasher(Rokudai) - Siku Expressions (HinoKit) by Destiny-Smasher

Other artwork Shannon has done for this project:
Katrina Kesuk
Juniper Fong
Jane Fitzpatrick
Aaron Leekpai
Coral Kesuk
Siku Kesuk
Maya Chiao
Saffron Fong

An introduction to this project can be found here.
The project's full art gallery can be viewed here. The story (in its current, 'fanfiction' first draft) starts on DeviantAart here, and can be read on here. All art and fiction updates for the project can be followed on its Facebook page.
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© 2014 - 2021 Destiny-Smasher
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Sonja-from-Finland's avatar
I don't really know much about this version of Sokka at all, let alone the revised version, but I do like the way he looks like. He's obviously inspired by Sokka, but I like that you made him quite hairy, since lot of men seem to be really hairy, yet fictional men seem to be almost hairless. Siku has similar cheerful nature like Sokka and I can totally imagine him being the fun guy every one is friends with. I don't know why but the first design makes Siku seem really surfer like, probably because it's the American movie cliche surfer look with the t-shirt, sharktooth necklace and he even kind of has the hairstyle. The second desing reminds me of canon Sokkas nerdy, sciency side, so I'm currently imagining him as chemistry, physics or engineering student, but I really don't have a clue as to what you have planned for him.

Reading the other comments on this piece, I'm actually kind of looking forward to Zuko and Azulaless AU, since they do tend to kind of steal the show and your justifications of not having enough original ideas for them to do, is good and you really shouldn't give into the pressure of having popular character involved in the story just because people would like to see them, if you yourself don't actually have interest to do so. While I do like Zuko and Azula more than you do, I do agree that they kind of stole the show in canon and most AU settings seem to center around them. Is Kylee your version of Ty Lee? If she is I'm actually looking forward to Mayas romance with Kylee, but even if she isn't I will still like it for giving your story a lesbian couple.
Destiny-Smasher's avatar
The fandom has a hard-on for Zuko (and Toph, too, actually) and it bores me. He was a fully developed character, and he felt like a proper member of the Gaang by the end, but he doesn't interest me in particular. After the show was done, I was content saying good-bye to hi and wishing him well, but the main four members of the Gaang I felt I wanted to get to know more, especially since Zuko's character arc was more complete than any of theirs were.

SRU!Zuko and Azula were fun to write and I found practical plot places for them to help move things forward, but there isn't a place for them in Rokudai, at least not as it currently stands. I may merge them both into one new character (which I'm also doing with some other cases) or I may just drop them altogether, but they were fun in SRU.

Kylee is the revision of Ty Lee, yes. She and Maya are roommates, and in SRU, Mai and Ty-Lee ended up being support characters who also supported each other through their mutual frustrations with dating Zuko/Azula. But in the revision, it will make sense, and also allow for a new development dynamic, for them to function as a couple who gradually comes out over the course of the earlier portion of the story (they grew up together in the east coast and Rokudai will take place in the west, but Maya's dad will be a stingy political figure like Mai's will be this familial drama with her wanting to come out, etc.).

Actually, they won't be the story's only lesbian couple, either. Jane and Coral became very close to being a couple (they are both bisexual) -- which was totally not something I had ever anticipated or planned until it ended up almost happening. The only reason they didn't in the SRU draft was because I felt like I had set up an expectation of Smellershot/Borra, even though these characters grew out of their canon selves into other people, and those canon-based relationships didn't make as much sense. There will also be a gay couple in the supporting cast that I originally intended to develop but never did (I even wrote a whole setup scene that I cut from the story) as it felt too weird since they had the names of canon side characters in Avatar, and just...I dunno. Another example of how the story outgrew its canon inspiration and became its own thing, and ended up being limited by what inspired it.

The intent with this stuff in the revision is to make the cast more decidedly women-oriented, with multi-racial, multi-sexual cast members engaged in, well, multi-racial, mutli-sexual relationships. It's not something I want to force, but it took writing SRU to help me figure out what the different characters' sexualities COULD be if I just allowed them to exist rather than tried to adhere to fandom expectations of canon characters.
Sonja-from-Finland's avatar
That's the same reason I find many Zuko centric fanfics dreadfully boring, he was so well developed in canon, so I want to see what happens to every one else.

Combining characters you don't have proper ideas for will probably help, since you can take aspects of both of them that seem interesting and then develop them into a character of their own.

Maya and Kylees story sounds really interesting. I like that you have the story be about them coming out, since that's a huge issue for many real life lesbians/gays/bis. Are Maya and Kylee a couple already when they go to study together, or do they realise during it that they have always been lesbians and like each other as more than friends?

Jane and Coral do sound like an interesting idea for a couple and I can understand how you felt like they couldn't actually become a couple in SRU-version, because people expected them to be more canon like and liked the idea of them as a couple with other canon characters they actually know in canon.

I like the fact that you took the World of Color setting and didn't white wash the characters in the modern au version, since that's often a huge issue with all AtLA modern aus that actually go beond drawing the characters in modern outfits. Jane, even the earlier version, gets away with it because Smellerbee is such a minor character that we barely even know anything else about her, so she feels like she is your own character, not Smellerbee turned into a white redheaded girl. I do like the idea of making a very women oriented setting, since Sailor Moon is pretty much the only such series that comes to my mind right now and the fact that it was meant for little girls obviously limited what they actually could do.
silversteam11's avatar
what about Zuko?
Destiny-Smasher's avatar
What _about_ Zuko?
I'm not sure how he is in any way relevant to this pic.
silversteam11's avatar
Sorry. The way I said it doesnt make sense. I meant when will Zuko have a character like him? Just wondering...
Destiny-Smasher's avatar
He might not, to be honest. Him and Azula were present in SRU more to reference the TV show and add an artificial kind of political/crime drama conflict to things -- plus, it was a means for me to develop a more positive resolution between the two siblings than canon provides.

There's not really much for them to do in a revised version of the story, to be honest. There's no need to reference ATLA and there's not really as much to do with that character type. I've always found Zuko to be cliche and boring as a character, yet he gets so much attention in canon. I don't dislike him, per se, it's just that nothing about him interests me. He wasn't a core member of the group in SRU as a result on that, and in a world more decidedly pushed away from Avatar there just might not be a place for the spirit of SRU!Zuko that makes sense -- at least not as a prominent character. I guess we'll see.

Most of the other characters already have revised names and adjusted designs, but Zuko and Azula don't. They're...them. There were very deliberately written more like their TV show counterparts. There's less original character in them. But at least Azula is fun to write.

The short answer is that there's no plans for artwork like this for SRU!Zuko's revision into whoever else he'd be.
I've put plans on this project on hold as I work on my graphic novel project, which this artist is contributing concept art for.
silversteam11's avatar
Hmm… I get what your saying. But will Mai/Maya be single or what. And will Iroh be in the series. And the fire scene be in the series? Sorry I have a lot of questions
Destiny-Smasher's avatar
Nah, that fire scene was too over the top, and existed more to create the sort of high-stakes fire-oriented drama of ATLA.
There's a good chance that Jane and Coral will still confront a criminal, but it will not be based in some conspiracy -- instead, a man who is to blame for the death of Jane's boyfriend, (like a drug dealer who dealt drugs that killed him).

Maya and Kylee just might end up as a lesbian couple, actually.

I'm not sure if the character who is SRU!Iroh will still exist. He probably will, but I'm not sure what his name will be yet.
silversteam11's avatar
Darn I like the fire scene. Oh well... Oh! Maybe Jane and Maya could be together! Now that would be a plot twist. Maybe Maya will be related to Iroh? I can't wait! Are you going to be posting the story on deviantart! I would love to read it!!!
Destiny-Smasher's avatar
Haha, Jane and Coral will be an endgame couple that I will spend much more time developing than I was able to in SRU. With SRU I felt too stuck, too obligated to canon, to break up "Smellershot," even though it wasn't really Smellershot. And with Korra I got hung up on LoK shipping and the idea of Borra (which I think could've worked very well had they continued developing it early on instead of side-swiping us with all the melodramatic Makorra/Masami stuff) but even as it stands, SRU ends on a note of uncertainty with Jane and Korra's romances, which was an intentional nod to their future as a fully developed bisexual couple in Rokudai's future.

That being said, with Maya being lesbian, and possibly in a polygymous relationship, it's entirely possible that her and Jane might have some kind of awkward...something. I guess we'll see what the characters end up doing - because TBH they function like fictional people and don't always end up doing what I plan.
I did like the fire scene (well, there were two, but I liked both), and there WILL still be at least one scene to that extent. I plan to scale back the crime drama by a lot but it does still need to be there in some manner in order to develop Jane and Korra properly and explore the darker themes their characters can confront.

My current plan with Maya is that the revised SRU!Iroh might be her uncle, and Kylee is her girlfriend, but she grew up on the east coast (Rokudai will be on the west coast) from a conservative family, prolly a politician as a dad still, and because of this, she'll have character development regarding coming out as gay and that kind of thing, regarding the family politics.
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