Hire This Woman: Cartoonist Sarah Horrocks
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Cartoonist Sarah Horrocks may be most well-known for her Adventure Time cover and of course her excellent critical writing for this site and elsewhere, but she’s done a great deal of interior work on her own projects as well, such as Hecate Snake Diaries and Dysnomia, and her work has (or soon will) appear in Brandon Graham’s Image Comics titles iMultiple Warheads and Prophet. Horrocks usually does every part of the comics process on her projects, from writing to lettering.
ComicsAlliance: What kind of comic creator are you?
Sarah Horrocks: I am a comic creator. I do whatever it takes to make comics. So I do everything. Writing, penciling, coloring, inking, lettering whatever. I don’t really view those things as necessarily separate things in terms of comics. Like, when I’m writing a comic, I’m thinking about how it’s colored and how it looks. When I’m drawing the pages, I’m still thinking about the story as a whole and where the words are going to go on the page. Even when I’m inking or coloring, it’s all part of the totality of the comic, and it’s actually weirder for me to think about it in specialized terms. Maybe less so for writing — but definitely art. I have a cover I’m working on now, which someone else will be coloring, and that’s already completely messing with my brain. So much of my planning of a page is in terms of color or non-color.
CA: Do you work on paper or digitally? Why?
SH: I do pencils and inking on paper, and then color digitally. Lettering is, I guess, a mixture of the two. I prefer to do my pencils and inks in analog because I like having an actual thing when I’m done — it also works well with my process, because I do a lot of sort of brutal things to the paper with how I ink, and, I dunno, I dig that.
CA: What’s your background/training?
SH: I have a BA in English from Tulane University. Everything artistically, I have taught myself.
CA: How would you describe your creative style?
SH: Queer-Techno-Witchy-Art House Horror
CA: What projects have you worked on in the past? What are you currently working on?
SH: The most notable thing in terms of something people have heard of is an Adventure Time cover for BOOM!, but I also have self-published two books digitally, Hecate Snake Diaries vol. 1 and vol. 2, which are still available for sale. I also drew the barcode on Brandon Graham’s recent Multiple Warheads collection. I have a backup coming up in the book he writes for Image, Prophet. I also have a two-page short in Frank Santoro and Andrew White’s Comic Workbook Magazine. I also have done work with the Witch House audiovisual collective Mater Suspiria Vision. I have a book that they put out through Phantasma Disques called Dysnomia. It is like a Jean Rollin film in comic form. It is my most cohesive statement in comics to date. It is sold out now, though, but I will probably have some copies with me at Emerald City Comic Con, if people are so inclined. The book has its own soundtrack. It was a lot of fun. I like working with those people.
Currently I’m working on some cover work, and a long form comic album called Morganth Yaari, which is basically The Thing meets Akira meets Solaris –if those things weren’t about dudes and had way more robots. I will also have another Hecate Snake Diaries anthology in August for sale digitally.
CA: Approximately how long does it take you to create a 20-page issue?
SH: 300 hours tops? Four to six hours to pencil, two-to-four hours to ink, color is one-to-four depending on how annoying my computer is being… oh, I didn’t add writing to that.
CA: What is your dream project?
SH: Well, I basically started learning to draw so I could make this epic intense cosmic barbarian epic comic, and I’m just kind of waiting until I’m mature enough as an artist to handle the material. It’s like this epic Black Metal/Red Sonja/Dune type thing that in my head looks like Gustav Dore meets Blade of the Immortal in a dense oppressive Blame!-type world. That’s my dream project. I have a ways to go before I can draw it how I see it. Right now Morganth Yaari is my dream project, though. That’s the great thing with being an artist is that everyday can be your dream project.
CA: Who are some comic creators that inspire you?
SH: Brandon Graham, Emma Ríos, Tsutomu NIhei, Taiyo Matsumoto, Alberto Breccia, José Gonzalez, Hiroaki Samura, Sloane Leong, Hiroaki Araki, Philippe Druillet, Roque Romero, Sergio Toppi, Enki Bilal, Guido Crepax, Inio Asano, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Frank Frazetta, Barry Windsor-Smith, Arthur Ranson, Simon Bisley, Ashley Wood, Luis Garcia, Esteban Marotto, Fernando Fernandez, Brendan McCarthy, and Guy Peellaert
CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?
SH: Salammbo by Philippe Druillet, Blame! by Tsutomu Nihei, Takemitsu Zamurai by Issei Eifuku and Taiyo Matsumoto, Bianca by Guido Crepax, Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano, Sharaz-De by Sergio Toppi, Rob Liefeld X-Force comics, Alberto Breccia’s Lovecraft adaptions, Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura, Oyasumi Punpun by Inio Asano, and Indian Summer by Hugo Pratt and Milo Manara.
CA: What’s your ideal professional environment?
SH: Alone at my house in the early morning hours before the sun comes up, with a pencil in my hand, my dog asleep behind my chair, and good music creeping out of the speakers.
CA: What do you most want our readers and industry professionals to know about your work?
SH: The work speaks for itself and you either dig it or you don’t.
CA: How can editors and readers keep up with your work and find your contact information?
SH: Twitter and Tumblr. I update both often with all kinds of things, and there are tabs on my Tumblr to filter the site through. People can hit me up on either of those formats and then continue on over to email if they want to. That seems to work the best.
If there is a woman you’d like to recommend or if you’d like to be included in a future installment of this feature, drop us a line at comicsalliance-at-gmail-dot-com with “Hire This Woman” in the subject line.