Boat Builders Through The Lens of an Artist

Day in the life of the Boat Shop”

Nhatt Nichols is a graphic journalist who combines her comic book and poetry backgrounds to create true hand-drawn stories. She’s been called a comic genius by Sailing World for her book Boats, Bears, and Bad Life Choices: The Race to Alaska, and is the editorial cartoonist for The Port Townsend Leader.

In May of 2019, Nichols and Tacoma Boat Builders set out to create “Day in the life of the Boat Shop”, a comic displaying the day-to-day practices of youth in our program. The project is one of the highlights of her career so far.

“I’ve always believed that the way to create better adults is to give kids more chances to be trustworthy. The youth in these programs have had something go very wrong in their lives, but here they learn that poor choices do not have to define who they are for their entire lives. Here they are trusted not only with tools and boats, but with each other and their collective community. Giving them trust and watching them thrive gives me a great deal of hope for the future.”

Through her exploration of creativity and self, Nhatt encompasses the values incorporated in our program. Youth at Tacoma Boat Builders are encouraged to share their story through self expression and the pieces they create week after week. We learn together that it’s alright to draw outside the lines, carve too deeply, or simply brainstorm the ideas we don’t currently have. It is the chance to be human, the chance to fail and learn, that gives the youth an opportunity to better understand their own capabilities and find a sense of meaning.

We at Tacoma Boat Builders give thanks to Nhatt Nichols for her contribution and time spent on a piece that will be seen for years to come by all who enter our program doors. Thank you Nhatt!

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