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.


  • Okay, the Saga of Michael was definitely a highlight of the weekend. I’m so glad I came! Thanks for inviting me, friend. <3

    April 18, 2011
  • Thank you so much for taking on DDLL, Natalie. My daughter Josie had such a great time that night. She and I have been “following” you for three STCFs now and watching you grow as an artist has been so fun. :)

    April 18, 2011
  • CLR

    Thanks for the recap! I’d be really interested in hearing what what said during the Autobio Comics panel, if that were possible. I’m working on something autobio and “How much is TMI?” is a question I very frequently ask myself.

    April 19, 2011
  • I’m stoked my pockets advice made it on the list, haha. Thanks again for the awesome drawing, my girlfriend LOVES it.

    April 19, 2011

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