Monday, February 25, 2013

Women in Horror Comics: Rachelle Rosenberg

This feature is part of my Women in Horror Comics series in honor of Women in Horror Month. For more info on WiHM visit

As I mentioned back in my feature on Jenny Frison, I'm a big fan of HACK/SLASH. Creator Tim Seeley has had a few different female artists working on the series over the years, one being my final Women in Horror Comics feature, cover artist/colorist Rachelle Rosenberg. Rachelle started working in comics in 2008, and her first color work on HACK/SLASH was in a one shot called "Entry Wound." In addition to her work on horror comics, Rachelle has done both covers and color for titles like X-MEN, DOCTOR WHO, GAMBIT, and HULK.

Comics being the medium they are, the artwork is absolutely crucial to a successful story. There can be several different individuals all contributing to how the comic looks, including the cover artist, the penciller, the inker, the letterer, and the colorist. As many illustrators will tell you, the color work is extremely important, yet sometimes the people behind it go unrecognized.

Back in January a Colorist Appreciation Day was declared in which writers, artists and readers alike could give their favorite colorists some love and support for the hard work they do. As much as any other genre, if not more so, color can make or break the tone of a horror comic. Without the right atmosphere you lose a sense of the world the writer is trying to create, whether it's the blue-black shadows, the perfect blood-red or an eerie radioactive green.

Most recently, Rachelle has been working as the colorist for award-winning author Caitlin R. Kiernan's ALABASTER: WOLVES series, which features Kiernan's popular character Dancy Flammarion. In combination with artist Steve Lieber's work, Rachelle's coloring makes Dancy's world a rich, dark fantasy with fairy tale elements.

Rachelle was nice enough to answer some questions about her start on HACK/SLASH, Colorist Appreciation Day and her advice for aspiring colorists:

How did you first get involved with Hack/Slash?

The creator of Hack/Slash, Tim Seeley, was introduced to me at a drink and draw in Chicago. I actually had just started exploring the idea of taking my career into comics and I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I did some work for some of his friends and he liked what he saw and hired me on for the project.

What artists have been an influence on your own work? Are there influences from other media that have been important to you?

I draw inspiration from so many people…. Christopher Sotomayor, Christina Strain, Christian Lichtner, Justin Ponsor, and Laura Martin to just name a few. I also am greatly influenced by films. Every time I watch a movie, I make mental notes of lighting and color and how those elements affect the mood of the story and try and apply them when portraying the story I am working on.

What are your thoughts about the big "Colorist Appreciation Day" event that popped up on Twitter recently? Are you hopeful that it will increase awareness about how important color work is to a comic?

I LOVED Colorist Appreciation Day. I have worked with many people over the years, some that have been very open with their appreciation of what I bring to the team and I have also worked with people, who see only the artist as the sole "comic creator". I hope it does create an awareness to how important color is to a comic.

What advice would you give to aspiring comic book artists? Especially on building their portfolio?

My favorite advice is to just never give up. I know it seems obvious, but it is so difficult sometimes to just maintain hope that you can make it. When I first started coloring, I colored every day, even if it was just doing test pages or something to add to my portfolio. There are always new things to learn and ways to make yourself a better artist. You just have to keep pressing on and forward, every day.

Do you have any favorite comics or graphic novels, or is there something you've read recently that you enjoyed? 

Sometimes, it feels like I read so many scripts, it's hard for me to just sit and read comics. However, I am a HUGE Walking Dead fan and so I have been reading that…. although it's not in color. ;)

Are there any current or upcoming projects you're working on that we can check out?

Right now, I am currently working on GAMBIT and X-MEN LEGACY for Marvel and ALABASTER: THE BOXCAR TALES, STAR WARS LEGACY and THE LAST OF US for Dark Horse Comics.

Thank you again for the interview, Rachelle! To see more of Rachelle's work and stay informed on her upcoming projects, you can visit her website, follow her on Twitter @rachellecheri or visit her DeviantART page.

Rachelle Rosenberg's work via Comic Book DB
Alabaster: Wolves #1 via Dark Horse Comics
Why comics fans have declared it Colorist Appreciation Day via Daily Dot

Resources for Women in Horror Month

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