“Yeah…I could live like this.”
If you’ve ever been interested or enamored by art, artists and particularly animation, you’ve perhaps imagined what it would be like to be on the other side of the curtain. What is it like to be a creator in animation? Many even dream of pursuits in those fields but, often, it can be difficult to find appropriate information, informed advice and guidance on how those dreams could even be realized. Natalie Nourigat’s I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation is a brilliant and extraordinarily useful book that’s here to help ease the struggle.
Written, drawn, colored and lettered by Nouigat, the book is as informative as it is touching, funny and heartfelt. An autobiographical work packed full of advice, put together meticulously, Naurigat gives us a keen lens into a fascinating world. The book is structured into eleven sections, each focused on a specific aspect of the journey and life that come with pursuing a career in animation. From Introduction, which familiarizes us with a rookie Naurigat and her aspirations to Conclusion, which sees a Naurigat reflecting on her current place and evolution, the book takes us on an immersive journey that also happens to be a great learning tool.
Naurigat is an excellent cartoonist with a relatively simple but incredibly versatile and expressive art style that grants the book a great deal of charm. Moving from cartoonishly exaggerated reactions and faces to mundane everyday expressions and moments with seamless skill, Naurigat builds a book that takes great advantage of the medium. The lettering is spectacular across the board, packing a great deal of information well enough for the average reader to parse and leading their eye masterfully. But beyond that it also builds the rhythm of the entire book, making every comedic line or gag land with the intended impact. The choice of borderless balloons is effective, combined with the color choices, as they lend an ‘openness’ to all that is being put forth. Naurigat’s choices show a great deal of thought, whether is be more ‘bubbly’ or ‘messy’ balloons to convey certain moods, such as excitement or fear while the solid punchlines are delivered with the cleanest of balloons. Even font decisions from the more italicized expressions of great joy to the boldened responses of pained acceptance, are all really well done and go a long way.
The coloring choices also work in sync with all the choices in penciling and lettering to build something special here. The coloring brings a whole other layer of storytelling to the book, helping lead the reader along while also suggesting and emphasizing certain elements already present on the page. A great example is a sequence where in Naurigat gets a call to work during what is meant to be her free-time and the entire scene is a world of purple, except for Naurigat herself, who is isolated from everyone else and colored in light red, expressing subdued frustration and anger. The moments and how Naurigat’s experience colors them comes across quite literally in the work, which is a great deal of fun.
Naurigat has taken years of lived-in experience and professional advice and weaved it into a smart, humorous narrative that is incredibly personal yet educational in the best way all great great guides are. And that’s essentially what I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation is at its heart. It’s a guidebook, driven by an informed perspective and a true experience that provides you with all the necessary details that come with inhabiting this specific world. Whether it be the trivia of life in L.A and all the amusements to be found there or the most specific details on free educational services, technological tools or working with a Union, it’s a fairly comprehensive book. But going beyond just Naurigat’s own experience and point-of-view, the last chapter of the book, almost serving as a touching epilogue, features various other experienced veterans of the industry from a multitude of backgrounds giving advise. All of them come from different walks of life and have their own things to convey and so the book wraps up by giving the reader a fairly robust understanding of the occupation and what it might truly entail.
Full of charm, heart, detail and thought, I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation succeeds not only as a great personal adventure of triumph but as a very comprehensive and well-rounded educational tool for readers everywhere. It’s an inspiring tale of a woman who’s achieved her dream and now hopes to help many more do the same. Whether you’re a veteran of the industry, an aspiring member, an interested observer or a seeker of a well put together story, you owe it to yourself to check out this book. It’s a joy to read.