Meet Walt Disney Animation Studios Story Artist Natalie Nourigat

Portland native Natalie Nourigat, BA ’10 (Japanese, Clark Honors College), moved to Los Angeles in 2015. Now she’s a story artist for Walt Disney Animation Studios, creating storyboards, comics, concept art, character designs, and animation.

Nourigat’s studies were supported by a resident dean's scholarship and a Wentworth scholarship. She also credited her academic development to English professor Ben Saunders—who introduced her to classic American comics—and Professor Alisa Freedman of East Asian languages, for her instruction on Japanese comics called manga.

After graduation, Nourigat created storyboards for commercials and started drawing comics. One of her first projects: Between Gears, an autobiographical account of her senior year that was a finalist for a 2014 Oregon Book Award.

Between Gears, Image Comics
Between Gears, Image Comics
I Moved to LA to Work in Animation, credit: BOOM! Box
I Moved to LA to Work in Animation, credit: BOOM! Box

Nourigat also captured her pivotal relocation to California in a 96-page graphic novel, I Moved to LA to Work in Animation.

“I get a lot of questions from people about this career path, and while I certainly don’t know everything, I wanted to share what I do know from my first couple of years here.”



Nourigat storyboarded this sequence from Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, in which characters Vanellope and Shank talk while Wreck-It Ralph eavesdrops.


Ralph Breaks the Internet, ©Disney

One of Nourigat’s more challenging recent projects was Exchange Student, an animated short film that she directed for Short Circuit, Disney’s new short-film program.

“I really enjoyed learning to lead other artists, exploring how the production pipeline works, and seeing the film enriched by each of the departments that touch it.”

Exchange student, ©Disney

Visit for more information about Nourigat and where to find her work.

Matt Cooper, managing editor of Oregon Quarterly