Bridgetown Comedy Fest

WOW, Bridgetown Comedy Festival was great!  I went to several shows with my brother Nick and a few friends, and was lucky enough to meet Ben Acker, Janet Varney, Oscar Nunez, Peter Serafinowicz, Todd Glass, Jermaine Fowler, Myq Kaplan, Sam Varela, and Brandie Posey.

The Picture This! show on Saturday night was a highlight for me; Wook Jin Clark and I were two of seven artists who drew live for comedians as they performed stand-up (curious how that works?  Check out this clip).  It’s a fun format and we got to meet some great artists, including Griffith Kimmins and Samantha Gray of Titmouse Animation Studio, and Portland artist Shane Hosea. I believe the show was recorded, and I’ll definitely link it when it goes live.

Here was my weekend in Instagram photos:


Art tips and resources

I got a request from my friend Jaylee last week asking if I had any tips or resources for improving one’s drawing skills.  I get this question a lot, so I wanted to make one big blog post with my ideas.  I’ll add to this over time as I come across valuable resources, so check back.

  1. First off, there’s a lot of great stuff that gets posted to Tumblr.  Art-help is a good aggregate for tutorials on a variety of art topics.  Ktshy and Kalidraws both post and reblog lots of relevent art advice and are worth following.
  2. This photo shoot of Olympic Athlete body diversity by Howard Schatz and Beverly Ornstein is one of the best pieces of reference and inspiration I have ever seen.  I love it as a reminder that “strong” bodies come in all shapes and sizes, not just your male and female superhero molds.
  3. If you want to improve your human anatomy, Michael Hampton’s Figure Drawing: Design and Invention is the best book I have EVER seen for that.  He color codes muscle groups and breaks down complex body shapes into simple ones.  It’s very helpful.
  4. Though it may feel like pulling teeth, drawing from life is really the best thing you can do to improve.  It’s painful because it forces you to confront things that you are not good at yet, but that’s the best way to improve!  Sit in a cafe or on a park bench with a small sketchbook and draw people who walk by, the scenery, etc.  Go to figure drawing sessions in your city if possible.  If you’re too embarrassed to draw in public at first, start by picking up a clothing catalog and drawing the people and settings inside.
  5. I owe a lot to the series of books How to Draw Anime and Game Characters (vol 1, 2, 3), as well as the How to Draw Manga books (there are TONS, but here‘s an example). 
  6. Post your work somewhere you can get feedback.  I recommend setting up a Deviant Art account and a Tumblr, and letting people know that you are open to critiques.  If you have access to arts educators or professionals, ask them to look at your portfolio every few months and listen to what they have to say.

If you’re a good girl tonight

I saw Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters last night with Molly and Wook Jin!  It was AMAZING-AWFUL.  It was this perfect mix of absurd and self-aware and just….just going for it.  Just owning the awful.  Anyway, here are some reaction comics!  SPOILERS!  (And man…there were SO many more jokes than this.  Funny stuff from Wook Jin and Molly that I didn’t include.  I just could not fit them all in.)

And then they did.


Just, in general, such gratuitous violence in this movie.  Sometimes it was funny, usually it was gross.

The movie was actually really, really fun.  At a $3 theater with two friends who can appreciate a good bad movie, it was a perfectly wonderful time.

You fear that you can’t do it all and you’re right

Do you guys know that I’m on Vine?  I’ve really been enjoying that app and the 6-second-film form.  James Urbaniak’s are some of the best things the internet has to offer right now.

I have been working really hard the past several weeks, and I’ve gotten big into The Blow. (Should I rephrase that?  Oh well.) It’s great finding music that keeps me pinned to my desk when I need to be.  Just a couple more days and I should be able to take it a little easier…! @_@

My life is over oh my god this spider is so cool

Starkid released their newest play, A Very Potter Senior Year, on Friday.  It is the third and final installment in their series of Harry Potter musical plays (see also: A Very Potter Musical, A Very Potter Sequel). I watched it and had to stop it several times because I was laughing so hard.  I knew I needed to draw some quick fan art for my favorite jokes.  So this happened:
Moaning Myrtle might have been my favorite part of the entire play.  In her second appearance, when she made Joe Walker break character, I lost it laughing.

Image’s May solicitations are out!

MAY 15
BETWEEN GEARS creator NATALIE NOURIGAT joins the Atomics team! Someone broke into Flem’s lab and stole a dangerous invention. It Girl picks up the crooks’ trail, only to discover it leads to a team of underage secret agents – though the real criminal mastermind is centuries older than all of them.

ECCC 2013 con sketches

I am now open to take con sketches for Emerald City Comicon!  That means if you are attending the show and you want me to draw something for you, you can request it now to make sure that you get on my list before I run out of slots (which doesn’t always happen, but can, so if you’re dead set on getting something, send it to me early!).  I don’t take commissions outside of conventions anymore, so be aware that this is one of the few ways to get custom artwork from me.

 What I need from you is an email (to with your NAME, which days you will be at ECCC, which CHARACTER you want, and whether you want BLACK AND WHITE or COLOR.  I will send you back a confirmation e-mail and put you on my list.

  • First come, first served
  • Commissions are 9″x12″ on 300 series Bristol paper
  • Color commissions will be done in Copic marker this year (you’re gonna love it!)
  • Price: $50 for black-and-white, $100 for color (and up–it costs more if you want more than one character or you have any special requests)
  • Payment: Pay me at Emerald City when you pick up your piece.  I’m going to have a smart phone and a card reader, but no guarantees that I will be able to take card, so please bring a check or cash just in case
  • I will try to have pre-ordered commissions done by the beginning of ECCC so you can pick them up any day.  But please let me know if you will only be at the show for certain days, so I can make sure to have it done for you.  Any sketches not done on time will be shipped to you, my treat, for my poor time management :P
  • ***I am no longer drawing likenesses (“draw my girlfriend”, “draw my son as Magneto”); I will only draw well-known characters (characters I can Google and find images of).  So, for example, I will happily draw Ron Swanson, but I will not draw you pretending to be Ron Swanson.  I won’t draw your pets.  Does that make sense?  I love you all, but likenesses stress me out and I don’t want to do them this year

Yay!  Let’s do this!

True affection floats

This old drawing got a new wave of attention this week after being posted by Geek & Sundry, the DeviantArt tumblr and twitter accounts, and 9gag.

A lot of people emailed/messaged me to ask about buying prints of it, so I thought I’d post that info here in case anyone else is wondering.  I no longer sell prints online personally–I couldn’t make the economics work in my favor–but I have enabled print buying on several of my Deviant Art pieces, including this one.  If you look to the right of the image here, there’s an “add to cart” button.  If you click that, you can get started on buying a print from DA.  I’ve never bought a print from DA, so I can’t vouch for their service/quality, but it’s simple and the quickest option, with a lot of available sizes.

Option #2 is buying a print from me at a convention.  I make sure to stock prints of this drawing for every show.  I usually make 11×17″ prints, but I might try more sizes this year.  I sell them for $20-25, and I’m happy to sign/personalize them.  Here is a list of my 2013 conventions.

Option #3 is for anyone in Portland, Oregon.  There’s a print shop called TIS that works with my studio, Periscope Studio, and sells prints of our work in exchange for printing benefits.  They sell 11×17″ copies of this print for $20-25.

I have also had several inquiries about commissions.  I am not accepting commissions right now, but I will open up a limited number of commission slots on February 1 (and I’ll post info here about it on Feb 1).  Those are only for people who will be attending Emerald City Comicon and can pick up their commissions in person at the show.

In other news, I can’t stop listening to this song:

I realize that it’s a tiny cross-section of people who read my comics and are also studying French, but I have to share this great tool my teacher introduced me to just in case it’s useful to one of you!

7 Jours Sur la Planète is a page on TV5Monde’s website that updates every Saturday with 3 new videos of world news stories in French (click on “Exercises en ligne” in the green box to begin).  The news clips are only 1-3 minutes long and there are optional transcriptions to help you follow along.  Then, there are 2 exercises each for 3 different levels of students (élémentaire, intermédiare, and avancé) to test your comprehension from the clips.  I love it!

I can do it all with you by my side

Happy New Year! It’s time for my annual year-in-review post! (2011) (2010) (2009) This post became massive, so I added pictures.

My 2012 goals were:

1) Be more proactive about getting work. Go after what I want, versus sifting through what comes my way. (Check job listings at PIXAR and LAIKA every week.)
I applied to four animation studio jobs this year.  No dice, but nothing ventured nothing gained.  Thinking this way made me more outgoing in general, and I now have relationships with three more publishers than last year, and invitations to pitch material at more companies than I could have hoped for.

2) Be good about saying NO.
I was a lot better about this in 2012 than in 2011.  I made a list of minimum requirements for jobs, and subsequently was available to take storyboarding work pretty much every time it came in.  I used to think that I needed a pile-up of jobs to be secure, but it actually benefits me more to wait for the really juicy jobs, even if that means having some weeks in between with no paying work.  Life is short and there are a lot of my own stories I want to get out on paper–I need to save as much of myself as possible for them.

3) Keep up karate and French. Get my green belt and plan my 2013 France trip.
I stopped going to karate at the beginning of the year. u_u But I’ve kept up my French studies and will go to France in September with my mom as we’ve been planning for almost 3 years! I found the podcast Coffee Break French extreeemely helpful in getting me to practice between lessons.

4) Draw Over the Surface 1 start to finish! :D Script book 2.
Nnnnno.  I drew chapter one (of six), and then better paying work started rolling in.  Over the Surface suffered a lot this year. :(

5) Get Adobe Flash and a subscription, and make 3 minutes’ worth of practice animations by the end of the year.
I did not do this at all. :( It always felt like there was something more pressing I should do instead.

6) Be active and creative about marketing Between Gears and my other two books when the time comes.
Yes, and on that note: did you know that Wrapped Up in You was chosen as one of Kirkus’s Best Teen Books of 2012?


So, 2012 was great.  My first and second books came out.  I went to four conventions for the first time, including TCAF and SPX.  I visited my friend Mary in D.C. for the first time.  I survived the apocalypse and turned 25.  I started running and swimming (I’m up to running 4 miles!  Even in-shape, middle school Natalie could only run 3!).  I got over 150 hours of freelance storyboarding (compared to 30-ish hours in 2011).  I worked with Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios for the first time.  I moved house and I LOVE my new situation.  I cleared out a lot of my possessions (mostly books and clothing).  I was involved in two successful Kickstarter campaigns (1, 2).  I dated some awesome people.  I started meeting with two of my peers; we share our successes, shortcomings, and goals each month and it’s lovely and balancing.  I started an IRA account and made enough money to donate some to charities I care about.  I started doing silly review comics after watching blockbusters, and I was pleasantly surprised by the response.  I learned how to ink digitally.  I went to Hawai’i with my family.  I spent an amazing day at the river with my friends.  (It was just a day trip to the river but it was the. Best. Day.)

 And I drew things.  So very many things.  Here is an incomplete list of what I drew in 2012:
+60 pages of Wrapped Up in You
+16 pages of Over the Surface
+22 pages for Meet Your Mind
+12 pages for Husbands: the Comic
+24 pages for Cabin
+2 pages for Box
+12 pages of an unannounced project
+24 pages of an unannounced project
+8 comic movie reviews
= about 180 pages, compared to 292 last year, but still.

Now, it wasn’t all good in 2012.  I also spent my entire summer inside, working.  And Portland only has about 3 golden months of nice weather; I really should have been out enjoying it every week.  I overworked my hand and couldn’t draw for most of September.  My entire self-worth is wrapped up in producing artwork; I’ve never felt so worthless as I did the month I couldn’t draw.  I spent a lot of money going to conventions and didn’t earn it back.  I had issues with mental burn-out, S.A.D., and lack of motivation.  There was relationship drama and heartbreak.  I missed a lot of the goals I set.  But that’s life, you know?  I would still say it was an amazing year.  I just have things to work on, and even if I did everything right, shit would still happen.

Goals for 2013:

1) Keep working on my French.  I applied for a teaching position in France with the TAPIF program(!).  I will find out in April whether or not I got in, and if I so I leave for France in October (if I don’t get in, my mom and I are still going on vacation there in September).  It’s a major fork in the road.  I really hope I get in.  In either case, though, I want to be good about my French studies and prep for going to France this fall.

2) Draw my story for the Thrilling Adventure GN, another issue of ** ****, the rest of Over the Surface 1, and *** ********.  I want to deliver on what I have promised people and move closer to my ideal situation in comics.
3) Do great work on storyboarding when it comes my way and build relationships that turn into regular gigs.
4) Attend San Diego Comic-Con for the first time in 3 years!  YES!  My middle brother Nick is going with me and we are going to have a great time.
5) Keep working out in whatever way suits me.  Running and swimming have been great, but I’m learning that I need to mix it up now and then, and if that happens again I’ll just embrace it and find something new that challenges me.
6) Get OUTSIDE this summer.  Daytrips!  The beach, the park, the mountain, the river!

7) Balance and health–don’t overwork your hand, don’t go weeks without exercising, don’t stress too much over work.
8) Artistic improvement is always a goal, but I’ve actually been thinking lately that it would make more of a difference if I focused on writing and acting over technical art skills.  I don’t know how to quantify that…but I’m going to work on it in 2013!

I’ve stopped applying to jobs in animation studios since learning about TAPIF, because even though I want to work in animation, I have some wanderlust I need to put to rest first.  Did you read this comic I drew?  The dream still in there is, “I want to live in another country and for everyone to be OK while I’m gone.”  I’ve lived in Portland my whole life.  It’s great here; I could absolutely see myself settling down here.  But I don’t want this to be the only place I ever live!  That’s what is in my heart right now, and I think it makes sense to address that before trying to land a job that would anchor me anywhere.

I bought myself a book from my childhood as a self- birthday/Christmas present.  It’s called Grasper, and it’s a story by Northwest author Paul Owen Lewis about a crab leaving his home to literally and figuratively grow.  It’s beautiful!  I remember the author visiting my grade school and I remember liking the book, but it must have left more of an impression than I was consciously aware of, because I thought of it more and more as I grew up, especially when I tried to put into words how I felt about big risks like travel and pursuing unlikely dreams.  It was so nice to track down the name of the book, find a used copy on Amazon, and read it again with my age tripled.  It’s still fantastic!

Lastly, lastly, I swear, I’d like to alert you to this Cracked article if you haven’t read it yet: 6 Harsh Truths that will Make You a Better Person.  It contains a lot of insights I needed to hear and I recommend you read it the whole way through.

Wow, you made it to the end! You’re amazing! :D 100 points for you. ♡ I wish you the happiest of New Years and all of the best in 2013!

Copyright © Natalie Nourigat