Emerald City ComiCon 2013 wrap-up post

I’m back from Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle!  It was another great year.  Attendance was over 60,000 and the exhibition area was twice as large as last year.

(Check out the gorgeous photos of exhibitors Anna Goellner took at ECCC.)

The highlights of the weekend, for me, were probably the chances I had to meet face-to-face with people I’ve only known online.  I got to speak with Claire Hummel, Victoria Ying, Brittney Lee, and Joe LeFavi!  It shouldn’t come as any surprise that they were lovely, charming people.  I now own 3 beeeeautiful art books from Claire, Victoria, and Brittney.

I invested a lot in prints this year, and it was a relief that they sold really well!  Commission sales were also great, and Between Gears continues to sell.  The coloring book sales were underwhelming, to the point that I gave them away to kids who showed interest in them, but maybe they’ll be better for a show like Stumptown.  I need to thank Image Comics, especially Ron Richards, for taking time away from their extremely popular table to deliver more copies of Between Gears to me!

I took it pretty easy at night this year, going to dinner and drinks with friends from school more than hunting editors, and I found that to be extremely pleasant.  Big shows like ECCC attract people from all over the country, and I got to catch up with people I don’t get many opportunities to.  It’s exciting hearing what everyone is up to!  And they were really encouraging, giving me confidence in myself and getting me excited to undertake several project ideas I’ve been kicking around. :) Cons in general get me fired up and inspired–I felt like ECCC pulled me out of a bit of a slump and gave me a clear view of what I need to do.

Speaking of upcoming projects, many people asked what I have in the pipeline, so maybe I should list that out clearly for anyone who is wondering (there are a few more than this that haven’t been announced, so stay tuned!):

  • It Girl & The Atomics issues 10, 11, and 12, coming out this May, June, and July
  • A Boy & A Girl coming out this year from Oni Press
  • A short story in the Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel, coming out this summer
  • A gallery show at Sequential Art Studio + Gallery in Portland during the month of May

I could hardly believe it, but I actually spent time each night in my hotel room working on commissions!  I always try to, but it rarely happens.  I felt that all of my commissions turned out well this year, and working on them in the evening meant I was able to go out at night without that responsibility hovering over me.  I will definitely try to replicate that in the future.

I was reminded more than once this weekend of Amy Poehler’s speech to the Harvard 2011 graduating class.  I love the message about collaboration; it is so true.  I table alone at shows, but I receive tangible help from many people to get there.  From Colin carrying a 20 lb box of Between Gears for me, to Terry directing people to my table, to Ron scooting his stuff over 4 inches to accommodate my new wire arch set-up, to George and Hunter’s pep talks, to Lucy and Chris’s help folding minicomics and flatting pages for me, to Vitamin C tablets from Rich, to the offers from people to get me coffee and food when I was slammed at my table, I am just the face of a 40-person operation, and I know I couldn’t do it alone.  I am grateful and a little embarrassed by how much help I receive.  I want to stay aware of that and make sure that I’m offering the same thoughtfulness, patience, and help to the people around me.

When it comes to a rising tide mentality and people shaping comics for the better, I really can’t miss the opportunity to mention George Rohac, Yuko Ota, Ananth Panagariya, and the rest of Benign Kingdom.  Do yourself a favor and get acquainted if you aren’t already!

Hope to see you at next year’s show!  …Except I might be in France.  I guess going to next year’s ECCC is one of the consolation prizes if I don’t get accepted to the TAPIF program. :P

Strides I spend to the finish line

Reminder: today is the LAST DAY I can take preorders for Emerald City ComiCon sketches!  Black and white $50, color $100.  Email Tally(at)farbeyond(dot)com by the end of TODAY to reserve a spot.

My prints arrived yesterday and they are lovely!

Emerald City ComiCon is going to be HUGE this year.  I am tabling with Periscope Studio at booth #2621.  A few of us are set up at the adjacent booth #2627.  Here is a map to help you find us:

Eeeee, there are going to be costumes from The Hunger Games on display at the level 4 sky bridge!  Last year’s ECCC was where I picked up “The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond”. :D   I LOVE that soundtrack.  The Neko Case track is easily my favorite off of it:

Some kind of madness

I exhibited at 4 conventions this month! @__@ I am…very far behind on e-mails.  Here’s a big ol’ wrap-up post for the convention parade:
(I’ve tried, but it’s not even possible to adequately thank all of the people who helped me out over the last month.  Bottom line is: I am able to do what I do because I have a great support system, and comics people rock.)

Kumoricon – Portland/Vancouver’s premiere anime convention
I was generously invited to exhibit for free as a guest, which was a super nice perk.
This show was a little strange for me, because the last time I attended Kumoricon was 7+ years ago as a high school student.  The show has grown and matured a lot since then….as have I.  I felt old more than once; I haven’t been an active otaku in years and high school students today have grown up with shows and fandoms I’m not even aware of.  The median age of attendees is probably 15 or 16, versus the 30- and 40-something attendees I encounter at most other shows.  It was probably really, really good for me to interact with this younger crowd, because it showed me how out of touch I already am.  It takes upkeep to stay relevant!
Even with artist alley in a separate building from the main show, it had a healthy flow of attendees all weekend.  I will definitely be exhibiting again next year if at all possible, but I learned several things that I’d like to implement in the future:

  • Presentation matters!  At comic book conventions, I feel like I have a decent table display.  I’m middle of the pack.  But at Kumoricon, people had nice overhead displays and just really great, clear packaging and prices, as well as cute outfits and costumes.  I was way out-classed!  If I come back, I want to implement the advice that my awesome neighbors Cari Corene and Robin Robinson gave me.  Cari actually gave me a table makeover on Sunday morning–it was really sweet!  I need to put more thought into the flow of my display and where I’m directing people’s eyes.
  • People do not care about original art; this isn’t a show to bring it to.  People were flipping through my originals and asking, “Why are these coloring pages so expensive?”  I had 2 people tell me to my face how they would color my originals when they got home. *SILENT SCREAM*
  • On the other hand, maybe I should bring coloring pages next year. (Positive spin powers!)
  • Between Gears sold just fine here, thankfully, but what I needed more of were prints.  A variety of images and a variety of sizes.  This was a huge show for prints.
  • People recognize the sea monster image.  That should probably be prominent in my display wherever I go.  It pulled a ton of people over.  So did Toph! :P
  • Homestuck is a thing.  Like, a big thing.

Rose City Comic-Con – First annual comic book convention in Portland
I was also invited to be a guest at this show, along with almost twenty other comic book artists.  That was a really nice gesture on the part of the organizers, showing a commitment to local artists being a part of the show.  We got free tables all together in a prime spot on the floor.
Everyone I talked to loved this show, and was blown away by its solidity in its first year.  The fire marshal had to hold the entrance line 4 times on Saturday because the show was at capacity.  There were families, young people, old people, non-comics readers, costumes, and lots of first-time comic convention attendees.  Looking back, I am most amazed by how the convention got word out to such a wide variety of people, again, in the first year of the show.  If there’s a secret, I really would like to know.  The whole thing just went extremely smoothly.  There were lots of volunteers, and they were happy and enthusiastic.  I got the impression that the people running the show had great common sense and had put a ton of thought into everything.
This is another con on my “repeat” list for next year!

Small Press Expo – Bethesda/D.C.’s independent comics mecca
I was told that Portland’s own Stumptown Comics Fest was modeled after SPX, and I believe it.  SPX was another great show–well-organized, well-attended, in a sa-wanky hotel with gorgeous amenities and ATM machines that we wiped out several times over the weekend.  This was a particularly great show for me because I have not tabled on the east coast before (excluding TCAF), so I was pitching my wares to a fresh audience and felt like I could make a bigger splash than at the shows I repeat every year on the west coast.  I sold out of books on the first day!  Also, I got to meet artists and other industry professionals I wouldn’t have an opportunity to on the west coast.
There was great variety at the show, with tables split between several first-time exhibitors giving away stapled minicomics, alongside tables of publishers and established artists.  I was tabling next to cool and nice people again (are comics people all cool and nice?!).  I would like to give special thanks to George Rohac, Eric Lee, Matthew J. Rainwater, and Christiann and Jim of Sticky Comics for inviting me to things and making a point to pull me into conversations after-hours, because, again, first time tabling on the east coast…I was not so much with the socializing and being popular and having things to do other than look around the room.  But thanks to the efforts of friends I met a ton of cool people!
I want to go back, but I don’t know if it’s in the cards next year.  East coast trips are pretty dang expensive; the odds are not in my favor financially and the only reason I do them is if I am getting something else out of the trip.  This time, I justified the trip by staying 3 extra nights and visiting my friend Mary in D.C., doing touristy stuff, etc
Hoooooly crap the Smithsonian museums were so cool.  Did you know that they’re all free to attend?!  I bought a Smithsonian baseball cap and rocked it for the duration of my trip, I was so into that shiz.  Favorite photos from my touristimes:

 If I had it to do over, I would have rented a segway for the monument stuff.  There’s a lot more walking to this than you might think!

The Lincoln Memorial was really gorgeous!  Probably my favorite.  Here’s the view looking back at the Washington Monument.  It was pretty hilarious to get back from this trip and 2 days later watch the Parks and Recreation season 5 premiere, where Leslie and Andy visit all of these things. :P

 D.C. was just really pretty.  I loved all of the old buildings, stately architecture, and history.  Oregon is a baby by comparison.  I was shocked on the drive from Ronald Reagan Airport to Bethesda by how pretty the river and forested areas were.  (Prettier than Portland, and I’m biased.)

Vietnam Memorial.  This was really sad; there was a group of veterans visiting and crying.
I was doing all of this stuff alone while Mary was at work.  For a few hours I was walking around the memorials eating a popsicle, snapping the occasional photo, and crying.  It was a weird day.

 Overly-friendly squirrels D:

 I love these doors on the Justice Building. 12-foot-tall lion doors!

 NOPE. Prehistoric monster fish on display at The Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

Oh hey, Kai/Kui!

I saw a lot of inspiration for fantastic creatures in those exhibits.  I would love to go back with a sketchbook and spend the whole day there!

Jet City Comic Show – Third annual comic book convention in Seattle
First and foremost, I need to stress how awesome the JCCS organizers and volunteers were.  I’ve never been treated this well at a convention, and that bar has been set really, really high. (Comics people are the best!!)  Yet again, I had guest status (nothing for 24 years and then 3x in a month!).  Guest status is my new favorite thing.  Everything is better with guest status.
This show invited a lot of artists and writers to be guests, and had a wide variety of vendors.  Longboxes and toy venders are usually a sign that I’m in the wrong convention, but I had a really good time and would do this show again.  Probably the best thing about the show was that it was less crowded than most shows I do, and that allowed for leisurely conversations and meeting people more in-depth than usual.
I carpooled up to Seattle and back in a single day, and that was brutal.  I promised Emi Lenox I would help keep her awake on the way home, but I started nodding off halfway through the drive.  If I do this show again, I’ll consider spending a night in Seattle.
Greg Hatcher wrote a thorough con report with photos; check it out!


I have had some early questions and requests for convention sketches (always appreciated – thank you!), and wanted to post here so you know what the program is if you are interested in getting one.

I will be exhibiting at Emerald City Comic-Con, the Stumptown Comics Fest, and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this spring (SO EXCITED).

-$80 for watercolor
-$40 for ink
-Prices can increase for likenesses, multiple characters, and complicated requests
-FREE sketch of my choice with purchase of $10 or more OR if you are a small child

I really, REALLY appreciate requests for commissions by before shows. These give me time to properly reference the commission and they almost always turn out better. Plus, your commission is ready to pick up any time, and there’s no risk of me running out of commission slots. Feel free to get in contact with me any time between now and the show you are attending to arrange for a commission.

Don’t recognize anybody

New art: Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman!

She’s so fun to draw! *v*

ALSO!  We’re less than a week from the Stumptown Comics Fest!!!  HOOAH!  Hope to see you there!  I’ll be at table B-5 and I’m on a panel Sunday from 4:00-4:45 speaking on the topics of time management and meeting deadlines.

ECCC 2012 wrap-up post

This was the best convention I’ve had yet. Thank you to all of the organizers, volunteers, attendees, and other exhibitors for making this show so much fun. You can bet I’ll be there next year if I can snag a space before it sells out!

I borrowed my brothers’ car and drove up on Thursday with Emi Lenox. It was great taking a car (vs. Amtrak), because we could take as many boxes as we wanted and we were on our own schedule. Usually, I have to pack very light and leave the show a few hours early on Sunday to catch the last train, but this year I could stay until the veeeeery end, go to dinner, and then hit the road.

Getting my badge, setting up my table, and checking into the hotel all went smoothly. It was lovely. Emi and I met up with Cat Farris, Ron Chan, Sean Kelley, Wook Jin Clark, Patric Reynolds, and Jarrett Williams for dinner, then had a relaxing first night in.

(We also did some Seattle spelunking)

On Friday morning, I was hoping to take a ride in an open-cockpit biplane, but the company didn’t call me back in time to arrange it. It was a bummer, but I went to Pike Place with Emi, Cat, Ron, and Sean instead, and was able to hang out with Terry Blas and Colin Matthew before the show started. Maybe I can take a ride with a different company this summer, or try this company again next year when I’m in Seattle again.

I sat at an exhibitor island with Periscope Studio, and we got choice traffic flow. It was fun watching my studiomate Benjamin Dewey constantly engaged with his Tragedy Series fanarmy. That man could take over the world tomorrow if he gave them the order…

I blew my fangirl budget before the show even started on two Brittney Lee prints (1, 2). xD They are gorgeous. I’ve had my eye on them for a long time, and was really happy to be able to buy them in person.

Attendance at ECCC this year was incredible. I’ve heard that it went from 32,000 in 2011 to 50,000 in 2012. Friday and Sunday, historically slower days, were at least as busy as Saturday was last year. And Saturday? Insanity. I’m glad my table spot was less than 50m from the bathroom. This was, of course, a really REALLY good thing as an exhibitor. I was pleasantly surprised to talk to a lot of people who said it was their first comic convention, let alone their first ECCC.

It was funny when I looked up immediately after making that purchase and saw this:

The ECCC volunteers were helpful and prepared, as always. This year, they did me a nice favor and helped connect me with John DiMaggio so I could cut a 2-hour line (so sorry, everyone else! @_@) and give him some fan art before sprinting back to my table. I’ve been e-mailing with Ben Acker of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and he helped make this happen as well. Oh, you want to see the fan art? It’s for a later post, but stay tuned~ :P

I was on the Image Comics 20th Anniversary panel, which was nice, but in all honesty I felt pretty out of place sitting up there with a bunch of well-established pros. I also said some unfortunate things like, “obviously, things have gone pretty well” (about my career since college). xD; I blame nerves! Some people came by my table and picked up Between Gears, citing the panel as their introduction to it, so I am grateful for that. Brandon Graham, Emi, and I had a little fun doodle-jamming during the panel:

Convention sketches were fantastic this year. I got a lot of requests, and many of them were fun subjects and turned out really well. Here are a couple of my favorites:

PS – Did you commission me to draw Sadako Sasaki? I want to give you your commission, but you need to contact me! (Tally at farbeyond dot com)

I did a lot more interviews than last year—I’ll be sure to link when they go live.

(Emi, Eric Stephenson, Ron Richards, Joe Keatinge)

I normally try to network at ECCC because it’s a fantastic show for that, but this year it was difficult because several industry parties did not end up happening. I had good times, mostly with friends from Portland, and didn’t beat myself up about it.

I am a dash and you are a dot

Some Stumptown silliness:

I left Molly alone for a while and instructed her to pretend to be me and draw in my sketchbook. When she asked what she should draw, I said a portrait of me. :P The Russian woman’s pants were to illustrate a story Molly was telling about a woman at work whose butt does incomprehensible things shape-wise. And then of course we have my appreciation for these things.

A man complimented me on my cute style. I retorted that I was a gritty realist, sir, and set about drawing gritty-real-Batman to prove it. Later, someone said “Sailor Jesus” and I had to draw it. I used the empty space in the top right, but Molly pointed out that this made it look like Sailor Jesus was Batman’s ‘good angel’. We came up with Tinkerbell-Voldemort for the evil side. And then put Batman on a therapist’s couch because he is clearly troubled.

Stumptown Comic Fest 2011 Wrap-Up

(I’ll update this post with photos when more are available online. Check back!)

Con sketch of Wonder Woman

Another Stumptown Comics Fest has come and gone. This was my third time tabling (I already turned in my registration for next year!), and there’s a reason I keep coming back. It was a big year for me. I’d say the overriding theme was ‘trying new things’…

DDLL: West. Photo by Erika Moen

Drink & Draw like a Lady West
Cat Farris, Elisabeth Forsythe, and I co-organized DDLLW this year. I went last year and had a wonderful time, and when Cat and I heard that no one had time to organize the west coast event this year, we nervously volunteered to try and keep it alive. I had never organized anything bigger than a birthday party before, and I was very afraid of failure. However, I really want to be a contributor to comics culture and foster an environment that’s friendly to newcomers, and DDLL seemed like the perfect opportunity to try.
People were really supportive. We got info and advice from the people who organized and attended the event last year. Cory at Oni Press gave us 2 hours of his time (even in the pre-ECCC scramble!) to teach us how to plan a comic event, and Oni sponsored a good chunk of our costs. Ron Chan connected Cat and me with Elisabeth after hearing that she wanted to start a female-focused comic event, and she was a godsend! She secured the Hollywood TFAW for us as well as a food budget, and she used her event planning and cooking savvy to make everything easier and the party worlds better. If Cat and Elisabeth are in to organize the event again next year, I will certainly throw my hat in again. That’s some great professional company.

Here is a comic to teach you how to make the chocolate haystack cookies I brought to DDLL and the convention!

Comic Art Battle
Although it would have been an honor to be asked, I was really relieved to not be in the Comic Art Battle Saturday night at the Jupiter after-party. I was asked last year, but drawing (mostly dicks) competitively in front of a crowd is really not my thing and I declined the offer. Joëlle Jones, Emi Lenox, Cat, and Ron were all in it this year, though, and I was excited to watch.
Well, a few people didn’t make it to the battle, and they needed a replacement at the last second. All of my girl ‘friends’ called me out from the crowd to come up and do it!! I felt my heart hit the floor, but I went up. Joelle was kind enough to share her wine, which I threw back to try and counter my shaking knees. Maybe it was better to have it sprung upon me; I would have spent the whole day dreading it, but this way I was blissfully ignorant until 5 minutes before it started.
I got very drunk very quickly, drew some hippos and vikings and dead unicorns, and then it was over. The girls’ team won 504-0 over the boys. :P So yeah, one of my worst nightmares vanquished! And it was fun!!

Autobio Comics: How Much is TMI? Panel
I was on a panel Sunday called Autobio Comics: How Much is TMI? with Emi, Erika Moen, Jeffrey Brown, and Katie Shanahan. I found out about this by checking the Stumptown schedule; several of the panelists were never contacted about doing the panel, haha. Katie didn’t make it, and I suspect that it was not her fault but the con’s. Erika was a great impromptu moderator. We spent the hour chatting about our influences, plans for our autobio comics, and the ethics of autobiography.
This was another case of trying new things; I hadn’t been on a panel in over 6 years, and was nervous to try again. It was great! I hope to do more in the future. :)

Convention Highlights:

  • Molly not only coming to support me, but staying for almost the entire convention and helping out behind my table. She’s one of my best friends and the most entertaining people I know. I loved seeing her connect with my comic friends and some comic editors (which I openly hope she decides to choose as a career. In Portland. For my comics. She’s one of three people I showed my first finished script of The Second Witch of Wilheim to for feedback).
  • Geeking out about Fringe with Mindy from Tiny Heroes. On Sunday, she brought me a mixtape of songs she thought would be on the Peter from Boston mix-CD from Northwest Passage!!!!!!!! (I’m listening to it while I write this and it’s aaaaawesoooooome)
  • Angela Melick gave me a copy of We are the Engineers with a sketch of me inside!! Squee! Also, just hanging out with her over the weekend. She’s one of the good ones.
  • Joelle gave me back my Miyazaki sketchbook with a kick-ass drawing of the Radish Spirit from Spirited Away!!! Ha! It looks awesome but it’s also hilarious and not at all what I expected xD
  • Nate Simpson gave me a signed copy of Nonplayer #1 with a sweet note! :) This comic is insanely good; pre-order a copy of the second print run now!
  • Swinging by Jen Wang and Vera Brosgol‘s table and picking up Koko Be Good, What Were You Raised by Wolves?, and a couple of Emily Carroll buttons
  • Meeting Corey Lewis and getting his signature on my copy of Sharknife
  • Meeting Sarah Glidden and getting to tell her how much I like her work
  • Meeting Maré Odomo and getting to tell him how hard I laughed at Letters to an Abssent Father. Also, he gave me a copy of the mini so now I can have a hard copy forever and make people read it when they visit! XD He also gave me March Fourth, which Molly and I read immediately and spent the next 10 minutes giggling about.
  • Bardot Charming swung by to say ‘hi’ and delivered THE CUTEST LETTER from Jessica, explaining how she lost her Tom button and needed another one.
  • The saga of Michael, AKA Tally embarrasses herself twice in the same day with the same person

What I learned this year:

  • Having a friend to help at your booth is infinitely helpful
  • I am ready to upgrade to more table space at Stumptown and ECCC next year
  • “Free postcard?” with one outstretched to passers-by is extremely effective (thanks, Erika!)
  • Ron Swanson is by FAR the best thing on my table for roping people in xD
  • Never wear anything you can’t store business cards in
  • Stand up if traffic is slow! It helps.
  • Forget heels. Just forget them.
  • It’s time to invest in a nice display/tablecloth/banner with my name on it
  • Take the time to pack nice con lunches before Friday night. It’s the first thing I axe when time is short, but con food is expensive and gross.
  • I need to replace my lost camera! :( No con photos for me except those that friends were kind enough to e-mail to me.
  • For prints, I think I’ll package them all in plastic sleeves and put them in a holder on the table next year so that people can leaf through them. This would solve the problems of people wanting to see their real size and print quality, knowing how many are left, and would save me the time it takes to package them on demand.

We’ll be playing and having fun

Tonight: Drink and Draw like a Lady West!

Elisabeth, Cat, and I spent last night baking, frosting, slicing, etc. in preparation. It’s going to be awesome; hope you can make it! Remember to bring business cards and/or minis if you come!

Saturday and Sunday: Stumptown Comics Fest!

Come to booth B-22 to see Emi Lenox and me!

Stumptown Con Sketches

The Stumptown Comics Fest is next weekend!! :D

I recently closed commissions due to time restraints, but you can still get a con sketch from me at Stumptown next weekend. I will be doing black and white drawings on 9″x12″ bristol. (The Kiki drawing above is one that I did at Emerald City last month).

To guarantee a spot (I will only take 5 requests), pre-order your con sketch now! That way, I have all week to reference and draw your con sketch, and it’s ready to pick up as early as the beginning of the convention. You can also sign-up for a con sketch at the show, but once I have 5 requests, that’s it. I don’t know how quickly they will go, but I recommend that you come by early on Saturday if you don’t pre-order.

To pre-order, and tell me:
a) Your name
b) What character you want me to draw (can be anyone, even real people or original characters if you send me reference, but only 1 character please)
c) Any notes about what pose/outfit/setting/mood/etc. you would like
d) Whether or not you would like grayscale Copic marker shading on your drawing

The price is $40 and you can pay when you pick up your drawing. :)

Copyright © Natalie Nourigat