Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Story of Avatar The Last Airbender

A century before the opening story of this series, Aang, a young male driver 12-year-old wind from the South Air Temple owned the Air Nomads, was told by the elders that he was "the Avatar". Usually, the Avatar was told his true identity as the Avatar when he turned 16 years old, however, the monks feared that a war will occur between the four nations is imminent and soon the Avatar would be required to maintain balance and peace of the world. This makes Aang very confused and depressed. Long story short, Aang fled from Southern Air Temple, but in the middle of the road he met a very big storm and he and Appa (giant flying bull owned) fell sunk into the sea. But Aang soon make a ball of air around the body and Appa that he did not get wet. Air ball is frozen water around so that Aang and Appa trapped in the ice.

In the episode "The Boy in the Iceberg," two teenagers from the Southern Water Tribe named Katara - a controller of water - and his brother named Sokka, find Aang in an iceberg, and then they release him. Then from their explanations, Aang knew that as long as he disappeared, the monks fear the war will have become reality. Many years during his escape, the Fire Nation into the homes of controlling the fire, a storm of war three other nations, the Earth Kingdom, Water Tribe, and the Air Nomads. The whole air of the temple was destroyed, including the Air Nomads, they were slaughtered so that Avatar could not be reincarnated. That caused Aang to be the last air controllers on earth. An obligation to study the control of four elements, in order to defeat the Fire King and bring back peace and harmony on earth. To take on the task, accompanied by Katara Aang and Sokka, along with two pets - Momo and Appa - to seek expert control elements, and learn to become an Avatar, and at the same time they must avoid capture by the efforts of State Fire .

HyperCard and Night Driver

There's something terrific about being my age, which is that your life spans a period of time from when it was normal to get an electric typewriter to take with you to college, up to now. And, it's not actually that long, so it's not like I'm 150 or something.

I remember when my friends first got their little Macs in their dorm rooms. This was a whole new way to create a term paper! Of course, you still had to plan your time to allow for the printing process, in which the tractor-feed printer would sit there and make awful noises in its strain to output all of your pages. But shoot, that was nothing next to re-typing or white-out.

And boy, I got excited about HyperCard. Here was something that let you come up with your own interface! I would make little stacks of cards and click through them over and over.

My age also means that as a kid I played on an Atari. We had Pong, and Night Driver. And Asteroids. And, we had Space Invaders. I had a system whereby I NEVER LOST at Space Invaders. I could play it infinitely. The only thing that controlled the length of play was basic human needs like eating and going to the bathroom. I had a choreographed set of moves that I could replicate over and over and score 100,000 points. Ask anyone who knows Space Invaders - that's a lot of points.

And get this - at my husbands childhood home, in the drawer in the coffee table, there's one of those original electronic Football games. You know, the one that goes "BDEEEE! BDEEEE!" when you score a touchdown. It still works. We still play it.

I think that knowing about these things keeps you humble. I feel grounded in a world that doesn't just include rectangular screens, because I used to dial rotary phones. And this helps me to remember that when designing or illustrating, all you're doing is thinking visually and that the screen isn't the point. The human experience is the point.

We dig the Internets not because they happen on a screen, but because they enable people to actually meet and date and get married. And find rare comic books. And get tickets to the monster truck rally.

These days as I look over the landscape of people slouched over their rectangular devices, I know that the world they are relating to is still lumpy and human and messy. The device isn't going to change that. You can get a rude email just like you can get a rude phone call or talk to a rude person. So when we draw or design it's all still just people. Mostly people who think rotary phones are hilariously sad, but people nonetheless.

Humor-Centered Design

I think it's really weird to try and analyze why things are funny.

But getting funny things down in a form that other people can enjoy - that requires some thought.

When I go to create a cartoon, often I have some fragment of an idea in my mind - like, "that's stupid," or "Huh," or something really articulate like that.

These get put on shreds of paper all over my house and car.

Then I have to get from that shred to something that's actually able to be seen and read and understood.

Single-panel cartooning presents special challenges. I think of my panels as one-frame movies. They've got a plot, and characters, and a setting, and dialogue.

There's a past, a present and a future, and you have to decide in which of these the cartoon takes place. Did something just happen? Or is it about to happen? Or is it happening right now?

Something stupid that is about to happen is funny because the reader can anticipate it. Something stupid that just happened is funny because of the reaction to it. Something stupid that is happening right now is funny because it's an observation of life.

Here's something stupid that is about to happen:
And, here's one where something stupid already happened:

And here's one where something stupid is happening, also known as "observational humor:"

See? Humor being designed. Telling a story, one frame at a time. Someday maybe I'll string all the little panels together and that will be my life story. There are over 2,200 of them at this point, after all.

Unintentional Messages in UI Design

Have you ever had this conversation:

"I can't get this to work."
"Well, maybe they don't want you to do it that way."

Who are these "they" people anyway? Well, as we move through the world, often we are faced with things that we know were made by someone else. Ticket machines, electronics, websites, even doors. If they don't work as we expected, we often assume that the "they" behind that thing didn't intend for use to use them in that way. They didn't put that option in there.

Websites and interfaces are especially susceptible to this. I was watching a friend try to navigate a website the other day - he was evaluating a company that he might work for. He could not look at the company's employees by function, which meant that he couldn't determine who was in what department. "I guess they don't want you to know that," he said.


Was that message intentional, or unintentional? When you leave things out of your interface that users are going to want, are you doing that on purpose? Is it like the velvet rope outside a nightclub?

Or, did you just leave it off because you didn't think of it, and now people are taking away a message that you did not intend?

The things that are not there send a message, that says "That's not the intent here." So make sure you send that message on purpose. If you bury your "careers" link, maybe it's because you aren't hiring right now. But if you do want to be hiring, don't bury it. Put it right where someone new would see it right away.

Birthday Cartoon: Birthday suit

I came up with this birthday cartoon while working on birthday card ideas for my other site and tried to apply it to a card but it just doesn’t really work for me. I did something similar to this idea on a card late last year and I wasn’t sure about that one either. I do like the way this cartoon turned out, just not for a birthday card though.

I’m not sure why I seem to be obsessed with making this idea work but I’m sure it is going to pop up again in the future. I know this because as I am writing this I just had another idea along the birthday suit line. I guess there will be some more to come for the birthday suit idea. Some day I will get it to a place I like it.

The one thing that can be counted on is that I will be posting these goofy cartoons surrounding this idea of a birthday suit until I feel it has been conquered. Until then, I hope everyone gets at least a little chuckle out of this one and any that may come in the future. Enjoy and have a great day.

This cartoon is free to use as content for your website as long as a credit in the form of a link is given.

Link Example:
Cartoon provided by “Ira Coffin” at or
Cartoon provided by “Ira Coffin” at

Tati Ferrigno

Tati Ferrigno - Digital Art, Illustration, Character Design
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