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kartos's avatar

Fire Lord Zuko Portrait

I have finally finished the Fire Lord Zuko Portrait! He never had one in the show, so I wanted to make one to match all the previous fire lords. I did a lot of research of the others portraits, analyzing them and figuring out a way to make it match the style of the others. I can explain why everything is here. The only thing missing is the texture, but that is because I am printing these on fabric for wall scrolls!

I have prints if anyone is interested, feel free to message me or purchase one if you see me at a convention under the title, "Madeline Lime" or Sugar Ninjas.

I was asked for a breakdown of the symbolism, so I have done that. I want to also point out that I know tarot, so this sort of thing is very easy for me.

from top to bottom:

-The sun disk/flame is typical in fire lord portraits, they all match exactly. His is larger to accommodate the lotus, which I hope is self explanatory.
-His hair is up, otherwise he looks too similar to his father, something he would have attempted to avoid.
-The sword is his true talent, and something that more than once altered the course of events.
-The long ribbon/sash flowing down around this actually helps to make the image more cohesive, and it has the symbol of the fire nation on either end. This is to symbolize his relationship with his country. He was always fighting for the Fire Nation, even when he appeared to betray. It surrounds him, etc.
-The original draft had his arms down, and both with the swords, and crossed. However this implies heavy control and imprisonment, of which Zuko would not have been as a fire lord.
-The symbols of the elements represent Zuko assisting the Avatar in bringing balance and order back to the world.
-Almost all of the fire lord portraits seem to incorporate some sort of creature and the fire lord standing onto of something, which would also represent his dominion over the land. Zuko was aided by the dragons in bringing back the original source of firebending to the country. They also support him/approve of him/etc, or he would not have survived meeting them.

I also want to point out that visually you eye is continuously drawn back to the four elements, since his curved blade and the angle of the draping cloth points back to them. :)

7/15/2012: I am planning an updated revision due to Zuko's awesome outfit in the comic.

Also, the next person to make a comment about it having "colors they wouldn't use" or some such, is going to have their comments hidden and disdain from me. I can't help it if you haven't paid attention and have no idea what goes into the fire lord portraits, stop bothering me, I don't care. It's irritating for know-it-alls to make comments years after the fact, especially when they're plain wrong. The only questionable color would be blue, (hello color theory, it is not a straight up blue), and anyone who has watched the show would agree not including the blue dragon would be a rather large oversight.

For note, the hall is lit by open flame, (again color theory, please learn it), is dark, this piece was intended to be printed on colored fabric to be a wall scroll, (this alters the color and texture), and holy crap if you don't like it make your own damn version.
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© 2009 - 2022 kartos
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Brilliant picture! The symbolism is incredible yet clever.

Madam3Fl0ra's avatar
It's a wonderful piece of art! And it fits so nicely with Zuko's character as well :D
kartos's avatar
Thanks! I'm actually making an edit to put him in the outfit he wears in the comics after the show, because omg I love that with the cropped robes and different hair. (I also originally was going to print it on fabric, but I never did so I will be putting a layer to make it appear so in the digital copy)
Madam3Fl0ra's avatar
Traditional art is so underrated. And yet it tells so much more, because it it filled with history and culture :)
kartos's avatar
It just seems like people hate on all art, overall. I see people shitting on digital stuff all the time, and quite frequently people can't tell that my inks are all digital.
Madam3Fl0ra's avatar
Art is beautiful, regardless of its form. Period.
TheAngelDragon's avatar
Nice, has a very Asian inspired look too.
TheAnimangaGirl's avatar
I think this is Great, but i'll look more 'avatarverse' if it had less colors...
kartos's avatar
Perhaps you should look at the other fire lord portraits before you say that. They have all sorts of colors, including green. AND they're in a hallway entirely lit by open flame, which is going to effect the color as you view it.
TheAnimangaGirl's avatar
What I meant is that the colors were less bright...
kartos's avatar
Your computer screen isn't a fire lit hall. If it bothers you so much, you can download it and lower the opacity.
TheAnimangaGirl's avatar
I didn't meant to offend you or anything I just was offering a comment, reason why you post drawings in dA....

Peace :peace:
Real cool, man! I just think that by having all four elements in his hand would mean more that he's accomplished to finish the war for his forefathers and conquer the other nations than to have ended the war itself by restoring the harmony and balance in the world. I think a scale would be more appropriate, maybe.
kartos's avatar

I disagree, as he would been shown stomping/standing on the elements instead of having them in equal size. Instead he stands on the wisdom given to him by the dragons. Since he worked with masters of the other elements, it shows he purposefully utilized each element in conjunction with his own to bring balance back. It's also relatively close to his side above a cupped hand, implying a feeling of protection. The visual circle created by the curve of his broadsword, into the curve of his outstretched hand and arm, and then the line down created by the cloth with the Fire Nation symbol, then back up towards the blade from his bent arm, implies the elements are within and being cushioned. It makes them more of the focus than the actual figure. :D
koolkame's avatar
Sweet. The symbolism is excellent.
laurbits's avatar
This print is AWESOME! Love all the symbology! Fantastic work.
kartos's avatar
PonyOfWar's avatar
I want this.
On the wall.
In my room.

I originally wanted to paint the room the dark crimson Fire Nation red, but had to settle on a metallic blue.
kartos's avatar
Metallic is crazy!

I have prints if you want to purchase one. :)
PonyOfWar's avatar
Not truly metallic, unfortunately. Close as one can get with traditional paint though.

And yes, if I had the money (just a matter of time) I would be interested in buying one. Also depends on price:size ratio.
kartos's avatar
Okay. :D I have a coupla of sizes, but I need to check my availability. I believe my large one is around 11x14".
cupcakeanimefighter's avatar
perfect, I think you captured all his accomplishments and his integrity perfectly, it'll shun the rest of the firelord's paintings! And thank god you didn't put an Ozai beard on him!
WolvenBane08's avatar
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