Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 24, 2010

Illustrator Saturday – Tory Novikova

I met Tory at one of the Networking Dinners in June and immediately was impressed with her talent and all she has accomplished in her first 22 years of life.  She is full of creative ideas and pushes the envelope on how she can make money and show off her art.  I think you will also be impressed. 

At age 22, Tory Novikova has graduated in May 2010 from Pratt Institute’s school of Art and Design. There she studied a mixture of illustration, children’s illustration, and graphic design as part of her BFA in Communications Design.

She had immigrated to the United States with her parents from Moscow, Russia, in the early 90’s shortly after yet another revolution took place there. It’s not a surprise that Tory is enamored with art, after all, she was practically destined for it. Her ancestry links back to even the great Bolshoi Theater in Moscow where her great grandparents worked as production artists. Though, if it wasn’t for her mother – a renowned Muscovite fashion designer herself – Tory would have never picked up those pastels, water colors, or pencils at age 3 and let her imagination run wild ever since.

In the US, Tory was exposed to a mixture art culture – but cartoons and comics always had the greatest effect on her. She has been making short comics and characters since high school (her 2006 high school yearbook is proof). 

Recently she had the opportunity to publish one of her 8-page stories with Dark Horse Comics (MDHP anthology issue #4), and to the credit of her editor, Scott Allie, it came out  looking even better than expected. The process for creating Face of Evil was simple: first came the original script, then came the second draft, rough layouts, pencils, and the digital color. The lettering was done by Nate Peikos of Blambot.

She’s also working on a personal project called Count Dorkula – dedicated to her little 7 year old cousin’s unnatural obsession with all things dark and creepy. Though Count Dorkula doesn’t really fit the stereotype of the average vampire, he is very reminiscent of a human adolescent boy.

With the helping guidance of her esteemed professors Pat Cummings and Tom Graham, Tory created two original stories titled Calamity strikes Fumyumia and Jrgen the Norwegian Forest Cat, that she hopes to some day publish with the children’s book market. 

Her latest attempt at conveying her passion for stories, Tory has begun to reinterpret classical romances into wearable fashion. She is in the process of working on her fashion line for TORYNOVA COUTURE. In the near future, she predicts to launch the dress line of Wearable Classics and make them available for purchase to those interested in fashionable storytelling!

Since 2007 Tory has been teaming up with a children’s apparel company Basically Kids, to produce apparel artwork for CWD Kids magazine. From that came the opportunity to collaborate with Books to Bed Inc. on the creation of a pajama and book set for Cinderella, which is currently still selling through and online at Barney’s New York as well as Bloomingdales (and many other pink princess boutiques)!

Tory has also been frequently featured at the Society of Illustrators, winning the Microvisions scholarship from the Society of Illustrators in 2009 for her Peter and the Wolf painting. Though recently, most of her work has been digital, Tory still loves to paint and to draw – her favorite mediums was always gouache because of the richness of its color. The Peter and the Wolf series was all done in gouache – it was an attempt to adapt Angela Carter’s short story “Peter and the Wolf” and it was Tory’s first experience at Pratt with children’s illustration.

In 2010, Tory was back at the Society of Illustrators on exhibit for the 2010 Student Scholarship show. This time it was for an illustration from her autobiographical book Refugee. The book itself is still on sale at the Society of Illustrator’s website ( Writing at autobiographical story at age 21 may seem silly, but not to a person that has lived through immigration and assimilation to another culture. Illustrations from Refugee are in Creative Quarterly’s 19th issue and are featured in American Illustration issue 29.

Of course she’s not picky, and would love the opportunity to collaborate with other writers on making their stories fun and charming and most importantly, illustrated!

Tory Novikova



Tory Novikova




  1. Fantastic work, Tory! My daughter was born in Russia the year of the fall of the Soviet Union. I adopted her when she was three. I’ll have to check out your Refugee book. She will find it interesting.


  2. […] · Leave a Comment  Wow – Kathy Temean did a great job with presenting me on her blog (  She’s the Regional Advisor in New Jersey for SCBWI […]


  3. What can I say? I am totally blown away by the quality of your work, Tory! My boyfriend is of Russian heritage, so I was also interested in this on that level 🙂

    I, myself, had a chance to attend Pratt back when I was graduating high school, but opted against it. At that time I didn’t have the drive to make the most of that kind of education and didn’t want to waste my parents’ money. I sometimes wonder how different my life would be had I made a different decision! I know I was VERY impressed by the art that was produced there (yours is certainly impressive!) that was displayed in a sort of on-campus gallery.

    I wish you luck, not that you need it—I’d say you’re a true success story in the making!


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