CURATED CREATIVITY
Art and illustrations by Hannah Taylor-Spikings

Character Building

Hannah Taylor-Spikings is a comic artist based in Coventry, UK. Her broad portfolio includes detailed fantasy characters and beautiful landscapes, which she's combined to create her own webcomic. Now in its seventh season, Hannah's amazing A.P.O.C is a dark world of secret labs and super powers, with a captivating storyline and brilliant illustrations.

We spoke to Hannah about how she imagines such weird and wonderful things, what a regular day looks like for her and where she gets her creative inspiration.

Why do you create?



I've always enjoyed creating my own work and the process of making something from nothing in a way that is stylised and personal. I don't think I've ever put down the pencil, so it felt natural to eventually make it my full-time job and become a freelance artist.


Other comic artists influence me greatly, whether they're an established pro or just starting out.

How and where do you work?



I work from home (incidentally, the pandemic didn't upset my daily routine at all!) and have my own office where I spend most of my day, and occasionally weekends. My work hours can be a little chaotic as I don't always know when to stop, but for the most part I try to aim for a 9-5 work ethic. I have a Wacom Cintiq 22HD which is fortunately standing the test of time, and is what I use for 90% of my work nowadays. Otherwise, I have Google Docs for my writing, and a sketchbook or two at hand for when I want to go back to my traditional roots.



Where do you get your inspiration?



I get a lot of my inspiration from music and other artists! I don't think my office is ever quiet (thankfully for my husband, I have some earphones on when he's nearby!), as I have a good handful of playlists I like to put on, depending on the mood. Easy chill-hop and lofi music is great to write to and do admin work, while metal, alt-rock and drum & bass works well for comic making/illustration work! Although some days I'm pretty sure I just live off the energy of Bring Me The Horizon.

As for artists, I have a good few hundred I follow on social media, but some standouts include Becky Cloonan, Gabriel Picolo and Stjepan Sejic. As soon as any of these three post something, I know I'm going to love it.


I use a lot of social media to get my work out there, but the algorithms aren't always kind to me...

What influences your work?



Other comic artists influence me greatly, whether they're an established pro or just starting out. Our constant striving for progress and improvement in our work helps me to further my own goals and do my best. Sitting down and taking notes on why I like the art styles that I like also greatly helps.

As a comic creator, you'd think I read a lot of comics myself, but I'm terribly bad at keeping up with more than two or three at a time (something I need to do better at). But the ones I do keep up with are a great example of the dynamicism of the medium. It's a shame that more bookstores don't stock more than a shelf of independent comics/graphic novels, outside of the "big two"... I hope that changes in the future.


Where do you sell your art?



You can find my illustrations on Gumroad, although I hope to update it soon with a little more fun stuff! Otherwise, I highly recommend my Patreon page, as you can see all my latest work come up there first, and also help influence what illustrations I'll make next!

How do you promote yourself and your work?



I use a lot of social media to get my work out there, but the algorithms aren't always kind to me (I might need to improve my marketing skills!). You can find me over on Twitter @HSpikings and on Instagram @spikingsart. Other than that, I've found that conventions have been an amazing experience for me, and I hope to attend more this year than I have previously. Getting out, setting up a stall and chatting to a variety of lovely people really gives me a boost, considering that most of my work is relegated to my office for the majority of the year.


Above all, enjoy the craft, the process and the result. Art can be a labour of love sometimes...

What are your future ambitions?



I hope to get APOC picked up by a publisher in the future, and finish it within the next few years - although at my current speed, I'll need to work a little quicker! Other than that, I would just like to make a tidy living off of what I love doing the most, and getting the chance to travel with my husband to new places and experience new aspects of life. Maybe the new things I see and learn can then translate back into my artwork...!



Do you have any advice for other artists?



Above all, enjoy the craft, the process and the result. Art can be a labour of love sometimes, but if you're looking to step into commerical art in any way, shape or form, just keep a little bit of your work aside for you, and you alone. Future you will be grateful for that.


Huge thanks to Hannah for answering our questions. You can see more of Hannah Taylor-Spiking's work on Twitter and Instagram, or support her via Patreon.
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