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Fire Lord Zuko Portrait by kartos Fire Lord Zuko Portrait by kartos
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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:iconmadam3fl0ra:
Madam3Fl0ra Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's a wonderful piece of art! And it fits so nicely with Zuko's character as well :D
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013
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)
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:iconmadam3fl0ra:
Madam3Fl0ra Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Traditional art is so underrated. And yet it tells so much more, because it it filled with history and culture :)
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013
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.
Reply
:iconmadam3fl0ra:
Madam3Fl0ra Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Art is beautiful, regardless of its form. Period.
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:icontheangeldragon:
TheAngelDragon Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice, has a very Asian inspired look too.
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:icontheanimangagirl:
TheAnimangaGirl Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I think this is Great, but i'll look more 'avatarverse' if it had less colors...
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012
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.
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:icontheanimangagirl:
TheAnimangaGirl Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
What I meant is that the colors were less bright...
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012
Your computer screen isn't a fire lit hall. If it bothers you so much, you can download it and lower the opacity.
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:icontheanimangagirl:
TheAnimangaGirl Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I didn't meant to offend you or anything I just was offering a comment, reason why you post drawings in dA....


Peace :peace:
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:iconjunior-codi:
junior-codi Featured By Owner May 5, 2012
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.
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner May 7, 2012
Thanks!

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
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:iconedward-smee:
Edward-Smee Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
AWESOME!!!
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:iconkoolkame:
koolkame Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
Sweet. The symbolism is excellent.
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:iconlaurbits:
laurbits Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
This print is AWESOME! Love all the symbology! Fantastic work.
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2012
Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconponyofwar:
PonyOfWar Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2011
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.
Reply
:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2011
Metallic is crazy!

I have prints if you want to purchase one. :)
Reply
:iconponyofwar:
PonyOfWar Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2011
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.
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2011
Okay. :D I have a coupla of sizes, but I need to check my availability. I believe my large one is around 11x14".
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:iconcupcakeanimefighter:
cupcakeanimefighter Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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!
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:iconwolvenbane08:
WolvenBane08 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011  Student Writer
This is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011
Thank you! :D
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:iconwolvenbane08:
WolvenBane08 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2011  Student Writer
You're welcome~
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:iconhoneydove:
HoneyDove Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2011
Kudos! This is awesome! Fav'ed :D
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011
Thanks!! :D
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:iconrenjineji:
renjineji Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011
This is nice and all but one thing I keep on noticing in attempts to create the stylized portrait of Zuko as a firelord is that the color choices/palette defy the color theme of previous portraits (i.e., no blue and/orgreen, generally containing different shades of red, orange, yellow/gold, black, brown). Can you make one using the traditional color scheme?
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011
No, because I already did. You might want to actually know what you're talking about before you try and say these kinds of backhanded compliments. For instance, are you next going to tell me that they couldn't have used gray in the portraits, either? Oh wait, they did: [link]

I can't help it if you fail to see the congruent colors that make it match the other fire lord portraits. Their portraits are NOT monochromatic, and you might be thinking of the scene where it's being illuminated with only lanterns, which is going to effect the way the color plays on the screen (and is almost all of the screenshots). That aside, you can actually see that the left most portrait has green leaves in it, and that Azulon is standing on a turtle that has green on it. [link] If you can't see it's green, take a color theory class.
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:iconrenjineji:
renjineji Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011
I'm sorry if you took it negatively and I'm sorry for the things I overlooked, I wasn't trying to undermine you or your art. Although your reply could have been much kinder.
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011
You want me to redo something I explicitly said in the comments I spent a lot of time on, and I had explained everything. It's not my fault if you didn't read the description.

I don't have to sugarcoat anything, just as you didn't have to comment.
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:iconraffyjack:
Raffyjack Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
its awesome! amzing! wonderful! fav! Theres 1 thing you missed though-lightning. lt played a massive part in his life, and it caused him much stress and possible his life in the fight againts his father, and azula.
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:iconraffyjack:
Raffyjack Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
plus the comet-maybe you could make it into a spiral in the middle of the lotus- I duno- just an idea. Great work anyway!
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2011
The comet makes it far too busy, I had to drop the idea of having it in. Unless we know he mastered lightning, it brings up too many negative connotations, and he most likely would prefer to ignore that fact. It was used against him far too often!

Thanks~
Reply
:iconraffyjack:
Raffyjack Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Ye, your probably rite-just an idea...again lol. But maybe have it encircling the elements-like a border as a circle. I don't know :P Amazing piece again I have to say.
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:iconellocobruja:
Ellocobruja Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2010
Perfect and well thought out
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:iconallgreycats:
allgreycats Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2010
This came out beautifully. I love the incorporation of the four elements, and the indication that Zuko joined the Order of the White Lotus.
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:iconjohn-tommy:
John-Tommy Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2010
wow thats just awesome, I always wanted to know what Zuko's portrait as a Fire Lord could look like and this is my new favorite next to the one of Sozin with the comet in the background. You most certainly did your research well even the style and form with the posture and depth is spot on. It looks like Zuko remembered to get his good side.
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2010
Thanks! :D
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:iconjohn-tommy:
John-Tommy Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2010
oh i would like a copy are they like tarot cards? and if they arent you should make like a deck of tarot cards from avatar. I do not know much about them nor how they are used but you could have Zuko as the Fire Lord(emperor)/ Mae as Fire Lady(empress). Sakka could be the fool or possibly the lovers with Suke. Yue could be the moon and the hanged man could be zhao. just to name a few off the top of my head.
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2010
lol, I do know a lot about tarot and I have a huge list of how to do it, I just haven't had a computer up to standards yet!
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:iconveridical-dream:
veridical-dream Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010
this is very nice!
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:iconnickmaster64:
NickMaster64 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010
this looks like something you would see in a chinese palace
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:iconinknose:
INKNOSE Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2010  Professional General Artist
I bought this at anime fest at the beginning of the year and I wanted you to know that it's pretty much my favorite thing everrrrrr! makes my dorm room feel like an illustrious hall of the fire nation, ha ha :D
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:iconallytard:
Allytard Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2010
Woahh... this is amazing!
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:iconsinead:
sinead Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay. I'm absolutely in love with this. Have you made the scrolls yet, by any chance?
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:iconteazuko:
teazuko Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
oooooooooooh wooow very amazing beautifull work a love avatar alot a wish a mey draw it
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:iconrandomanimegirl42:
RandomAnimeGirl42 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010  Student Writer
OMG AMAZING!
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:iconmutenroushi:
Mutenroushi Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
Very very impressive :D I really like all the simbolism and style! :D
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:iconkartos:
kartos Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
Thanks! Took a lot of effort/research, but I love that sort of thing lol
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