“My name is Hannah Spikings (my surname is my online name!) and I’m a 26 y/o UK freelance artist who specializes in concept and sequential art! My twitter handle is @HSpikings and my main webcomic that I’m working on right now is APOC.”
What do you do? (Write, draw, edit, publish, promote etc.) How did you get started doing that?
I write and draw two webcomics – APOC, and (action/adventure story about young adults who host the four horsemen of the apocalypse inside them) and Frolicking Freelancery, a slice-of-life weekly strip that revolves around my life as a freelancer, among other oddities. I also do commission work on a regular basis!
I went down this path in my life about a year ago – before then I was an artist for three years in the mobile games industry, which taught me a lot about organisation, graphic design on a broader scale and how to make quality work when on a tight deadline. Without that experience, I don’t think I’d have been able to make the jump to freelancing so easily!
(Both APOC and Frolicking Freelancery are up to read on Tapas!)
How did you get your start in comics? What was your first project and how did it come about?
My first project is actually APOC! I came up with the idea because I wanted to read stories at that time with specific storytelling elements in them, but I couldn’t find many – so I just made my own! APOC’s been in and out of development for nine years now, and when I started freelancing, I wanted to try my hand at making it a real thing. It’s (thankfully) changed a lot since its early days, but I use it as a platform to learn more about making comics and how to tell a story better over time.
Any current or upcoming projects we can find you on?
APOC and Frolicking Freelancery are my only two projects for now, but in a few months I should be taking on something new and exciting, so watch my Twitter space!
(Frolicking Freelancery is on a bit of a slowdown/break currently but you can read early updates, as well as get exclusive sketch pages and other goodies, on her Patreon!)
Do you work solo or do you collaborate with others? If so, what are some of your favorite types of collaboration? (People you’ve worked with, style of creators you get along with etc.)
I work solo on my webcomics, but I’m always up for collaborative efforts! I’ve participated in a few zines in the past which have been a lot of fun as a community, and the old-school OCT’s (Original Character Tournaments) from deviantART still hold a place in my heart. From these spaces you can find so many genuine and talented individuals that can become firm friends in time (and colleagues!)
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with some day? Why?
Oof, what a question. I would love to illustrate a comic series for a children’s TV show (like Adventure Time, Hilda, etc) or a graphic novel in the style of The Adventure Zone. Those sort of projects sound like long hauls, but like a roadtrip, just as fun!
(Some of the concept art she’s done, which you can view in her portfolio.)
What are your favorite genres/styles of comics to work in? Are there any you definitely will not do?
Adventure comics can be a lot of fun, especially ones that are fantasy orientated. There’s a lot of wiggle room for designs in there, and my inner concept artist would cry out to create some new creatures or species. Slice-of-life or coming-of-age stories also really suck me in, and the simplistic art styles can be so satisfying to work with.
I don’t think there’s a lot of genres I definitely would not do. From a personal preferential stance, westerns and sci-fi comics don’t grab me as much, but as an individual, I almost always find a way to become inspired by what I’m working on at the time – it makes the work all the more satisfying that way.
(You can commission Hannah through her website for art like this!)
Where do you draw your inspiration from? What is it you hope to accomplish with the works you help foster?
I try to keep tabs on a bunch of comic artists on twitter, since I always see something new and interesting from them when I scroll through my social media each morning. But often I try to draw inspiration from films with interesting cinematography (Tarantino films, Miyazaki films), or otherwise from mine, or my friend’s and family’s experiences. After all, if you’re not going out and experiencing life, it can be difficult to bring new ideas to the table.
If my work can connect to someone out there, either through my characters, their stories or the strifes they overcome, then I consider my work a job well done. I like writing stories where people aren’t perfect, but they learn to do better. Knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel is always uplifting.
(Some APOC thumbnails. Hannah’s only 5 patrons on Patreon away from posting tutorials based on patron requests for things like design, layout, and color.)
How do you feel about the current comics industry’s state? What gives you hope for the future of comics?
Well apart from the whole Comicsgate cesspit that’s going on, I think the comics industry is better than ever, from an independent creator standpoint! There are more ways to access the stories you want to read than ever before, and new stories being told by individuals from various backgrounds, and that makes the industry so much more interesting than it was 30 years ago or so. It’s these people who are telling their stories, and the younger creators who are just starting to dip their toe into comics which gives me hope for the future of the industry. It’s constantly changing and branching out, and I think that’s wonderful.
Who are some of your favorite/most inspirational female characters to read? What about in other media (novels, TV, movies, pop culture)? Why?
I have too many, I’m going to have to shorten my list! Korra from the Legend of Korra is one, as she’s bad-ass, strong, imperfect but also willing to learn. Her relationship at the end of the series also affected me hugely. Wonder Woman is also fantastic for similar reasons (can you sense a pattern here?)
Also Nelson from the self-titled graphic novel – it’s a fantastic collaboration by dozens of artists on this character’s life who has been through so many up’s and down’s. You can’t stop turning the page to see what happens next, it’s amazing.
Do you have any advice to aspiring creators?
Go out and create! Don’t worry about ‘the rules’ or ‘essential tips’ – they’re pleasant guidelines, but at the end of the day it’s all about creating what means something to you, and no list of rules can stop you from doing that. Also, don’t wait on that story you want to tell. Tell it, because someone out there might desperately need it right now.
What do comics mean to you?
They’re like a glimpse into lives and worlds that are way deeper than a set amount of comic pages can ever truly show. They’re like 5-6 hour films that can be consumed at your own pleasure, or books that give you motion and clarity that text alone can’t give. It’s a unique genre that can get a bad rep, and often seen as a ‘lesser than’. My answer to that is, you need to read more comics.
Anything else? (Free space!)
I have some future projects in mind over the next year or so, revolving around LGBT themes and fantasy/magic for younger readers! I might not have any content up yet, but feel free to follow my twitter as I slowly develop these projects over 2019! Thank you for reading, and thank you Ashley for the feature!