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The Nemeses of the Avatar by ZedEdge The Nemeses of the Avatar by ZedEdge
Sometimes a whole image will appear in my mind completed. This is the first time seven appeared at once.

After watching Avatar and Korra, I've been exponentially inspired to illustrate the characters. It's like - the only way to fully appreciate how much the series does for me is to give a solid amount of my time and focus into something all about these characters. The crazy thing is, in painting these, my art mind-set expanded so much that I gotta do even more drawings to appreciate it! Kawaii La

Although this series is exclusively the villains, I feel like they kind of represent the entire story. Because the story is all about the heroes' emotional growth - and as much as these guys hinder the heroes, they also give them the powerful opportunities to grow and overcome the hindrances. One could say that the heroes are better off with the villains trying to stop them.

As I mentioned, the individual portraits came to me fully refined, so I wasn't actually sure why I blurred them. But having finished and pondered on it, I figure it gives a feeling of closeness - these are less about a direct gaze and more about their entire imposing presence.

Z H A O by ZedEdge
A Z U L A by ZedEdge
O Z A I by ZedEdge
A M O N by ZedEdge
U N A L A Q by ZedEdge
Z A H E E R by ZedEdge
K U V I R A
(^reached the limit of thumbnail previews)
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:icongordhanx:
gordhanx Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2017
So much awesome. Great work on each of them. The shading and details on each of them, is incredibly well done and beautiful.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thank you very much. That's really cool to hear.
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:icongordhanx:
gordhanx Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2017
You're welcome man :) .
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:iconregreme:
Regreme Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016
Amazing job. However, there's one you missed, though understandable. He's often forgotten among the villains, despite the fact that he was a pretty good villain as well till Azula took over. That Dai Lee guy that controlled the Earth Kingdom from the shadows.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016  Professional General Artist
Indeed! Long Feng was an immensely cool villain. I was initially going to paint him, but I limited this piece to one portrait per season. And since Azula was the last one standing, I went with her instead. Perhaps I'll do a one-off of Long Feng sometime, just for good measure. ;P

Glad you like it!
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:iconregreme:
Regreme Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016
^_^ And so many good villains too. XD
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:icontheogaming17:
theogaming17 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2016
I LOVE IT IT LOOKS SOOOO REAAAAL OMG!
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016  Professional General Artist
Aw, thank you so much!
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:icondeviljackies:
Deviljackies Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2016
this is.......AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! XD
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016  Professional General Artist
Wow - I'm flattered. Thank you!
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:iconshadow-messenger:
Shadow-Messenger Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016
Amon and Unalaq, get the fuck out of the way. You're stealing the space from the REAL Nemeses of the Avatar.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2016  Professional General Artist
Haha - I'd say they've earned the nemesis title by being the nemesiest dudes in their respective storylines. ;P
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:iconshadow-messenger:
Shadow-Messenger Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2016
Amon is a communist-Purifier wannabe whose only real motivation and justification are daddy issues. He played good at psychological warfare, but in the end he was just some traumatized hypocrite. Plus, his whole plan was doomed to failure unless he would secretely train Bloodbenders to continue his stupid so-called utopia. He was just an asshole that thought he could make the world happier by making everyone weak. Plus, he never actually won any battle, he just used Bloodbending to cheat and slow his opponents, no different from what Tahno and his Wolfbats would do in Pro-bending.

Unalaq is even worse. Let's be frank, the writers fucked up season 2, and Unalaq as a whole was fucking stupid. At least Amon followed the Avatar Villain model of "great threat that's actually motivated by psychological scars and issues", like Ozai, Zuko and Azula. Unalaq doesn't even have a backstory beyond being a Loki-wannabe asshole. His goal is even more stupid, cause he's just some religious fanatic that wants all of humanity to kiss the Spirits' arses. He manages to be even more flat and without depth than Ozai. Also, his win streak is completely unrealistic. I could get him beating Korra's dad, or Mako and Bolin, but the way he just ALWAYS breezes through everything everyone throws at him just screams Villain Sue. Seriously, how did this asshole beat Korra? Ozai was stronger than him, and Aang wiped the country with his ass once he got into Avatar State, and Aang was a fucking pacifist. I would have preferred Vaatu to be the villain right from the start; he could have possessed Unalaq from the start, which would ACTUALLY justify his win streak a little. I guess we can all agree that Season 2 was just horrible, cause everyone just turned retard. Korra losing her connection to the other Avatars permanently is just completely nonsensical. Every Avatar is the same soul reincarnated several times! By the rules of the plot, you can't just ERASE PARTS OF SOMEONE'S SOUL! Also, FUCK the Spirits, they're all a bunch of self-righteous assholes.

I don't even know WHY they bothered to have Toph try pay any sort of sympathy or tribute to these two in the volume 4. The Toph I know would call them a duo of retard tossers, period.

Zaheer and Kuvira are, in my opinion, the best Avatar Nemeses, because they are a different breed of their own: Well-Intentioned Extremist with realistic, sometimes reasonable goals. They have much in common with Sozin, in that they have actually admirable goals that simply have poor and destructive executions; Amon only managed to fit into this breed when he was attacking criminal Benders, cause otherwise he was just a hypocrite. Also, Zaheer and Kuvira have ACTUAL, justifiable skill in combat to make them a threat. They aren't like Amon, whose victories are simply from subtle Bloodbending to make opponents slower and clumsier, or Unalaq, whose skill level and victories are pretty much plot-dictated and completely unrealistic. They never play Godmode or just win because of poor writing.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2016  Professional General Artist
Oh man - sorry to hear you had such an unentertaining time with the first two Books' villains. I can certainly see what you mean, and agree that Book 2 could have been reworked a bit.

However - not that I'm excusing any issues with it - but, the world, lore, characters and overall story that's been created here captivate me so much, that I simply enjoy spending time among it all. And in illustrating these, I get to feel the awesome world of Avatar flow through my mind and out of my pen. At the least, I hope you can enjoy my takes on Amon and Unalaq here. 'u'
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:iconshadow-messenger:
Shadow-Messenger Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2016
(O_O)' I loved your work, no offense meant or anything! Your art is awesome. I was just dissing Amon and Unalaq, sorry if I didn't make it clearer! Sweating a little... I just wish the writers had done a better second volume, and didn't kiss the Spirits' arses so much.

There are a lot of things they fucked up, but I love Avatarverse too, and Korra's series even more than Aang's in some aspects, so I totally understand what you mean. Which is why I really wish they'd made more villains like Azula, Zuko, Zaheer and Kuvira. I just think that, given the series' themes and ideas, the Avatar's Enemies shouldn't be card-carrying villains with stupid cliché plots, personalities and motivations. I will grant Amon made for a good scary villain, but once they revealed his real backstory, he just lost all charm and became really, really stupid and pathetic; it's kind of similar to what happened to Itachi Uchiha and Tobi in Naruto.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2016  Professional General Artist
Alrighty, cool. Thanks for clarifying. :)
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:iconblueflame98:
Blueflame98 Featured By Owner May 19, 2016
AMAZING!
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner May 22, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thank you thank you thank!
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:iconblueflame98:
Blueflame98 Featured By Owner May 22, 2016
:)
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:iconrassilon001:
Rassilon001 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2016
F*** ME... YES.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2016  Professional General Artist
I think all I can say to this is, thank you - thank you very much. =P
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:iconashanalian:
ashanalian Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016
Woah O_O Incredible work. So eerie!
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thank you very much! I thought it would fun to put familiarly sinister characters in an unfamiliarly sinister presentation, and see what it evokes. Really glad that eeriness comes across. >:J
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:iconwakko666:
Wakko666 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015
all awesome, except for the lackluster kuvira and that shit season. total miss op
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:iconthaeavoira:
Thaeavoira Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How dare you insult The Great Uniter.
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:icondoctorjohnpotters:
DoctorJohnPotters Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2016
I disagree. I personally thought Book 4 was spectacular. But, hey, that's just my opinion. Sorry you didn't like it.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2015  Professional General Artist
Hey, thanks! Super glad you like them.

I know what you mean with Book 4 - it didn't quite have the satisfaction for the entire seven season journey we just went on. Though for me, less good Avatar is still good Avatar. ;P
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:icondoctorjohnpotters:
True. Even at its worst, Avatar always had something to offer whether it be great animation, fun characters, etc. Though I was personally very happy with how Book 4 turned out. I consider it as a tie for my favorite Korra season alongside Book 3. But I think we can all agree that Korra did not deserve the BS treatment it got from Nickelodeon.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2016  Professional General Artist
Absolutely. NaNoEmo 2015 - #26 Shake Hand 
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:iconandroid239:
android239 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i literally got chills looking at this never really got that before lol i love how you define the face shape differences and the expressions. just by the shadowing and looks they give tells so much in your art. makes me want to watch the show lol
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2015  Professional General Artist
That's amazing to hear - thank you thank you. My goal was to concentrate everything the show told me about the characters. So to get your response, not having seen the show - that's ultimately flattering. Thanks again.

(also totally watch it because)
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:icondigifuzzy:
digifuzzy Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2015
Really well done. Tucking this one away in favourites.
Keep Going!!!
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2015  Professional General Artist
Oh, why thank you! Going is exactly what I shall keep to. ;D
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:iconnotbobby125:
notbobby125 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 2, 2015
Kuvira: I forged the Earth Empire, destroyed a city, and built a weapon even the Avatar couldn't face.

Zaheer: I destroyed the Earth Kingdom, was able to sever all connections to the Earth to become like the wind, and became the thing the Avatar feared the most.

Unalaq: I covered a city with plants and BECAME the DARK AVATAR! ...Guys? Guys? I'm cool right? Right? :(

Amon: I upended the social order, beat her without any help, and took the Avatar's powers.

Ozai: I ascended to Pheonix King and almost burned the world.

Azula: I KILLED the Avatar.

Zahoe: I KILLED THE MOOOOON! :D
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2015  Professional General Artist
I just have to reply again to say - this is a grand comment. Love it. :D
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2015  Professional General Artist
Hahaha - you sure did. But no could kill the moon quite like you, Zhao. :wink kiss: 
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:iconsamoro-solo:
samoro-solo Featured By Owner Edited Sep 2, 2015
Wow. Unbelievable. I saw this on the Avatar subreddit and I had to find out who did this. Major props to you (wo)man! I have a question: Are you considering on doing full body art for them by any chance instead of just the head portraits? You will definitely see more than a bump in views!
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2015  Professional General Artist
Thanks very much! So awesome to hear you followed through upon seeing it. :aww:
I hadn't thought of illustrating their whole selves - but that certainly gives me some ideas. I actually have a follow-up series in the works for this, so we shall see. ;D
Really glad you enjoy it!
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:iconhojo-kun:
Hojo-kun Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes. MOAR OF THIS!
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2015  Professional General Artist
Well - I'm won't say that I'm working on a little something something moar. But I will though. ;D
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:iconhojo-kun:
Hojo-kun Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
!_!
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:iconn4dz:
N4DZ Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my gosh! This is amazing!

I loved how Amon is different from the rest :D
Regardless, you are an amazing artist! :D
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2015  Professional General Artist
Gawrsh - thanks so much. I'm flattered. Really glad you like it. :)
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:iconsaeryena:
Saeryena Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2015  Student General Artist
These are so cool! Like JWeisner I don't watch Korra (not enough Zuko for me) but I've heard a lot about it and its villains and they all look very well done!
I especially love Azula's "whatever, just don't you dare step out of line" face.
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015  Professional General Artist
Hey, thanks. I'm glad you connect with the villains here without seeing them in their respective stories.
Azula's expression actually started out as something much simpler, but slipped with the stylus and it turned out better. =P

PS: #zukoftw
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:iconsaeryena:
Saeryena Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2015  Student General Artist
You're welcome!
Reply
:icondatat-sushi:
Datat-Sushi Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015  Student General Artist
I LOVE how Amon stands out from them all in this. ^^

Second favorite Avatar villian! :D (Big Grin)
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015  Professional General Artist
Oh, thanks. Yeah I had incredible fun experimenting with his mask details.

Who's you're first favorite villain?
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:icondatat-sushi:
Datat-Sushi Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015  Student General Artist
The Lieutenant! ^^
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:iconzededge:
ZedEdge Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Professional General Artist
Oh nice! Yeah, I love that he's not just a typical mini-boss (plus he's got a rad 'stache ;P).
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