Rachel Korsen of Golden Bell
Writing isn’t just about fiction and nonfiction. It’s also about comics, poetry, screenplays, and more. Today’s interview is with another team member of Golden Bell, the fabulous children’s comic book company we featured last month. Meet Rachel Korsen.
Rachel started her journey into storytelling through manga and anime. With major influences from stories like Naruto to the amazing films of Miyazaki, she wanted to enter the world of comics and animation. She has been consistently drawing her entire life in many different styles ranging from manga, to comics, cartoons, as well as painting traditional still lifes. She has a true passion for arts and storytelling. Rachel helps develop concept designs for the stories being produced by Golden Bell Entertainment as well as assist in other creator’s work by drawing characters and concepts to coloring their inked artwork. She also assists in the business by figuring out distribution models, pitches, and production.
Name: Rachel Korsen
Latest Release: InsecTales
- How long have you been writing?
I’m not really much of a writer. I mainly focus on drawing for the most part, but I guess storyboarding is a form of writing! I’ve been drawing for probably 15-16 years, I’m not even sure anymore! I started in 4th grade, that much I remember.
- What kind(s) of writing do you do?
I really work on stories in any kind of genre. Working with Marc and Rob at Golden Bell, we somehow come up with ideas ranging in every kind of genre and topic. So it’s really everything, but my favorites are always revolved around fantasy.
- Why did you choose that particular field or genre?
I’ve always been drawing since I’m really little and it never left me. I never really thought of doing something in another field.
- What inspires you?
Lots of Disney movies! Also lots of anime, and really any cartoons. I think there’s really great bits of storytelling to take from all them.
- Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from?
My love for all of it definitely came from anime. I started reading probably too many manga, I remember my favorites being Cardcaptor Sakura and I still love Naruto.
- How do you find or make time to write?
It’s my full time job working on all of this stuff, so it’s not hard to find time!
- Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
I think I use a little of both. I think I use more intuition when coming up with the characters and the world around them and logic for how to tie them all together.
- How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
I think just by practicing a lot and finding people with the same mindset that I have. If you don’t keep practicing then sometimes people just move on from drawing or writing and if the right people aren’t around you there’s no motivation to continue storytelling. At least for me.
- What projects are you working on at the moment?
Right now there’s tons of projects. To pick a few though, one is an animated trailer for The Valiard Mansion. It’s an illustrated novel we’re publishing, the first 5 chapters are online for free right now at www.TheValiardMansion.com It’s a really fun book. Another project is called Fatterpillars. These are stuffed animals and each Fatterpillar has a big dream to achieve. Jeff, for example, wants to be a pilot and learn to fly. We’re making a Kickstarter for them in a few weeks, probably mid August so that’s exciting!
- What process did you go through to get your work published?
I didn’t really have much of a process, since I’m one of the owners of the company. The main things we’ve been dealing with is the printing and distribution.
- What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part of writing is definitely working on a genre I’m not too familiar with. Sometimes it isn’t very inspiring so it’s hard to come up with ideas. But watching some videos and looking at reference images always ends up helping.
- What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.
I enjoy the process of coming up with the ideas and going back and forth. I think one of my favorite works is Spirited Away. I was watching the storyboards of it on the DVD and you really get a great feeling for the movie with these smaller, gestural drawings. Some of them are detailed and some are just some scribbles, but that’s what’s cool about it. These pictures are telling the story so well.
- What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t true?
I’ve been saying a lot lately, especially with younger teens that are getting into drawing that they always ask what application did you use to make this? I feel like people are under the impression that a lot of programs do the work for you. Yes, sometimes you can click to fill in a color, but there really isn’t anything that just draws or fills in the drawing lines for you. It takes lots of practice and you’re always constantly learning new things. You never really stop learning with drawing.
- What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they should?
Everything takes a lot more time to get done than you think. Coming up with the story, reworking it, going in and drawing the images for it, then fixing those. There’s a lot of back and forth that goes on before anything is even finalized. Before starting everything, I thought everything was going to move a lot quicker myself, but it really doesn’t, so being patient in this industry is really important.
- For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your work, where should they start?
For drawing specifically, start with a lot of observational drawing. There’s something different about drawing from looking at yourself in the mirror vs drawing from a picture of yourself. Also, take some life drawing classes. They’re really useful in understanding anatomy, and again it’s drawing from life. But really, just make sure to keep practicing.
- What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?
I post a lot on social media, mostly Instagram and Facebook. I also go to a lot of conventions. Sometimes these detract from my drawing because of the time taken away, but there’s always some sort of story or idea taken away from each experience, so it balances out.
- Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
I’m just going to go into overall storytelling since I’ve been talking a lot about drawing! I would have to say Hayao Miyazaki. I really enjoy the themes throughout his movies as well as of course the animation. He’s created some amazing work.
- What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?
The writing and artwork we try to make here is really for all ages. We’re trying to build a brand that allows any age to enjoy the stories and art.
- What are you currently reading?
Oh man, currently I don’t have time to read much of anything. I finished The Valiard Mansion a few months ago before we started working on the animation, and then I just read stories that are submitted to us.
- What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I’m not really sure! I think a lot of it has moved to digital books, but I think there will always be a place for physical books as well. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!