Bryan Konietzko

Birth: June 1, 1975

Occupation/Title: Co-creator’s and executive producers and Art director

Bio Summary: Brian stated that he first wanted to be an artist at a very young age (since middle school to be exact). In high school, he wanted to be adamant about his decision to pursue his career, so when he went to college at RISD (same as Michael), he majored in Illustration and Animation. A few years later, he figured about being an Art director, so that’s when he teamed up with Michael in 1998 as they worked together on different shows, such as the first season of “Family Guy,” the short lived “Mission Hill,” and after, for “King of the Hill.” Bryan later worked on Invader Zim, mingled with head of development, sparked the idea with Michael for Avatar the Last Airbender.

Early Life/Family: Bryan was born as the youngest of five. He also added that he started drawing at a very young age (18th months). When he was 3 years old, he painted religious scenes, kinda like Carvagio since his eyes were drawn toward paintings of that century. Since Bryan loved to draw, he stated that he got really into flip books and making his own. When his family started living in Louisville, Kentuky, he started taking art classes at school and outside of school for not just extracurricular activities, but to obtain more opportunities to draw. Bryan later got to take an animation class in 8th grade; he met several friends he knows now in the animation field that were in the same class with him since then. Bryan later gained experience in all mediums of animation since of that class. Outside of the drawing front, Byran picked up the guitar at age 13, thinking that he was going to be making music for the movies, but soon enough he found himself falling back into the art front due to the support of his friends and family. Though, producing music on the side is still one of Bryan’s hobbies to date. In addition, during his early years, Bryan was inspired by Ren & Stimpy, Batman, and Hayo Miyazaki.

Education/Training: Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Career Outline: He first started in the animation field by working on storyboarding for Mike Judge’s “King of the Hill” as an intern. Later in 1999, he became a storyboard clean up artist and character designer for “Family Guy,” then in 2002, Bryan started working for Nickelodeon Animation studios as a storyboard artist for “Invader Zim” while also working as an assistant director on the “Mission Hill” series. Around 2005, Bryan then teamed up with Michael to produce the “Avatar: the Last Airbender” series as a creator, executive producer, art director, title designer, character designer, storyboard artist, background designer, and writer. Following short after, in 2012 and presently today, Byran works on his series “Avatar: the Legend of Korra” for the Nickelodeon network as creator, executive producer, art director, character designer, and storyboard artist.

Comments On Style: During the interview, Bryan gave a very informative insight on what influenced his art style, however it’s clear that Bryan has tried to push beyond the boundary of sticking with the traditions of Western animation styles and trying to merge the idea of Eastern anime animation with Western animation techniques. It’s almost like in a way that he’s trying to produce the same animation-like style produced by Studio Bones, or Madhouse, or even Studio Ghibli. I like how he’s always trying to push animation itself, even if the particular idea of Eastern and Western animation styles blending together may not sit well in the minds of other people.

Influences: Bryan covers that he was inspired by what he loved since as a little child and now as an adult. He then later lists that he was inspired by the humor and animation style of Looney Tunes, the stories of a range of different comic books, Chuck Jones’ Tom and Jerry, Disney’s “Hutchback of Notredam” (even though he emphasizes how he really doesn’t like the Disney style of animation), the movies by Hayo Miyazaki (especially Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke”), Coji Morimoto animation and creations, M.C. Esher’s art, the fantasy genre in general, some Japanese animation (such as “Cowboy Bepob” and “FLCL”), “Robotech,” “Battle of the Planets,” “Blade Runner,” fantasy novels such as “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, story epics in general, “Song of Albion” series by Stephen Lawhead, and the “Dragon Lance” novels. Bryan also points out that he loves oil painting, especially the 18th century paintings. Anything representational style Bryan states really catches his eye, like Henry Ossawa Tanner’s work and Whistler. Byran is also influenced by contemporary illustrations. Bryan also adds that he is influenced by the great storytelling abilities of Pixar films, the “Iron Giant” movie, and the beauty of nature (hence why his office is covered with landscape paintings), documentaries, any type of good book, and photography. Bryan finally reports that he loves and is influenced by anything that has a lot of heart in its context.

Personality: When talking with Bryan, I noticed that he was very talkative man. He was extremely enthusiastic about his work, very blunt when it came to opinions while still retaining a very polite facade.

Anecdotes:

A comment Bryan said which I thought was intriguing: “Once stuff started getting shipped over seas, animation field started treating people overseas in Korea as a sweatshop, but Michael and I believe that they should be treated as people. Historically there has been that attitude of treating people like that, blaming them for the faults in the show (other than preproduction). Michael and I believe that by giving the outsourced studio more creative input, letting them be free forming, the animators overseas will have a say how the scene should get animated in the blue print. By doing so, it can lead to better results than what Michael and I had originally planned in the first place. That, and they’re artists. They’re not machines!”

Miscellaneous:

Filmography:
1999 - 2000 “Family Guy” (Storyboard Cleanup & Character Designer)
2002 “Invader Zim” (Storyboard Artist)
2002 “Mission Hill” (Assistant Director)
2005 - 2008 “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (Creator, Executive Producer, Art Director, Title Designer, Character Designer, Storyboard Artist, Background Designer, and Writer)
2005 “The Making of Avatar: Inside the Korean Animation Studios” (Himself)
2010 “Avatar Spirits” Documentary Short (Himself)
2010 “The Last Airbender: Siege of the North” Documentary Short(Himself)
2010 “Discovering ‘The Last Airbender’ ” Documentary Short (Himself)
2012 - Present “The Legend of Korra” (Creator, Executive Producer, Art Director, Character Designer, and Storyboard Artist)
2014 “The Legend of Korra: Book 2 - Spirits (Kindred Spirits: Tenzin’s
Family)” Video Documentary Short (Himself)
2014 “The Legend of Korra: Book 2 - Spirits (Inside the Book of Spirits)” Video Documentary Short (Himself)
2014 “The Legend of Korra: Book 2 - Spirits (Feuding Spirits: Korra’s Family)” Video Documentary Short (Himself)

Honors:
2005 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (Pulcinella Awards: Best Action Adventure TV Series/Won)
2005 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (Pulcinella Awards: Best TV Series/Won)
2005 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (33rd Annie Awards: Best Animatedv Television Production/Nominated)
2005 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (33rd Annie Awards: Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production/Won)
2005 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (33rd Annie Awards: Writing for an Animated Television Production/Nominated)
2006 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (34th Annie Awards: Character Animation in a Television Production/Won)
2006 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (34th Annie Awards: Directing in an Animated Television Production/Won)
2007 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (36th Annie Awards: Best Animated Television Production for Children/Won)
2007 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (36th Annie Awards: Directing in an Animated Television Production/Won)
2007 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (Genesis Awards: Outstanding Children's Programming/Won)
2007 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (59th Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Animated Program/Nominated)
2007 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (59th Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation/Won)
2008 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards: Favorite Cartoon/Won)
2008 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (Annecy International Animated Film Festival: TV series/Nominated)
2008 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (56th Golden Reel Awards: Best Sound Editing in a Television Animation/Nominated)
2008 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (Peabody Awards/Won)
2009 “Avatar: the Last Airbender” (Kid’s Choice Awards Australia: Favorite Cartoon/Nominated)
2012 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (IGN’s Best of 2012 Awards: Best TV Series/Nominated)
2012 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (IGN’s Best of 2012 Awards: Best TV Animated Series/Won)
2012 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (IGN’s Best of 2012 Awards: IGN People's Choice Award for Best TV Animated Series/Won)
2012 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (IGN’s Best of 2012 Awards: Best TV Hero/Nominated)
2013 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (Annie Awards: Best Animated Television Production for Children/Nominated)
2013 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (Annie Awards: Best Character Design in an Animated Television Production/Nominated)
2013 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (2nd Annual BTVA Awards: Best Vocal Ensemble in a New Television Series/Won)
2013 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (2nd Annual BTVA Awards:BTVA People's Choice Award for Best Vocal Ensemble in a New Television Series/Won)
2013 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (Daytime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Special Class Animated Program/Nominated)
2013 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (NAACP Image Awards: Outstanding Children's Program/Nominated)
2014 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (Annie Awards: Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production for Children's Audience/Nominated)
2014 “Avatar: Legend of Korra” (IGN’s Best of 2013 Awards: IGN People's Choice Award for Best TV Animated Series/Won)

Related Links:

Bibliographic References:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1665983/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0227204/?ref_=nv_sr_1
www.bryankonietzko.com
http://michaeldantedimartino.tumblr.com/
http://bryankonietzko.tumblr.com/
http://www.nerdist.com/pepisode/nerdist-writers-panel-154-legend-of-korraavatar-the-last-airbender/
http://www.toonzone.net/2012/04/toonzone-news-interviews-michael-dimartino-and-bryan-konietzko-creators-the-legend-korra/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdw6YmO8q_k (Avatar: The Last Airbender Documentary - Avatar Spirits)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkDQ66Q8Ra0 (2014 New York Comic Con: Legend of Korra Panel)
https://www.facebook.com/animationshow/info (Mike Judge’s facebook page he’s hosting)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0431918/ (Mike Judge’s IMBD)

Contributors To This Listing:
Bryan Konietzko
Eythan Taneyhill

Animators Hall of Fame