sam haney

sam haney (photo by Jacob Maxfield)
sam haney (photo by Jacob Maxfield)

how would you describe what you do?
I art. ‘Art’ is a verb, you see. More specifically, I’m an illustrator; I like it best when I’m given a concept, or a snippet of text, or a song, and am told to run with it. The fact that I get paid to do it just makes my job amazing.

what are you currently working on?

I’m doing some work for Steampunk Magazine (, but the next four months are mostly concerned with my graduating portfolio. I returned to school a couple of years back, and there’s just this one semester standing between me and that diploma. So school’s getting most of my focus right now. At some point in the future, I’ll have a collection released by Tattooed Steel, a jewelry/accessory firm.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?
I grew up reading like crazy, so most of my influences come literature. I’m very drawn to science fiction and fantasy, as they have some of the richest imagery. As for specific artists, I draw inspiration from Rebecca Guay, Phil Noto, Rick Mays, and P. Craig Russell, among many others.

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
I wouldn’t say I’m well established enough to have any reputation, misinformed or otherwise. But I do have an anecdote about meeting with an art director from a well-known genre publisher – I’d given my name as ‘Sam Haney’ when making the appointment, and he was surprised (upon meeting me) that I was a girl. Apparently, female genre artists are like unicorns, or something.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
I usually do pen and ink, then color digitally. So the strengths are, clearly: the undo button, copy/paste, layers. The hand drawing allows it to look more organic, a little more raw, so it doesn’t look over-polished. But then, ink can smudge, and digital coloring can look flat, so it’s a fine balance to work out.

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
I’m of the generation that doesn’t know any better, doesn’t know anything other than ‘everyday tech.’ Might as well ask me how cars have changed my life – they haven’t, I expect them to be there, I got my learner’s permit and taught myself Photoshop the same year, and didn’t think either was revolutionary, just the expected next-step.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
“Do what sets your soul on fire. And don’t be a fucker. The rest you can make up as you go.”

where can we find you online? for my portfolio, for commissions and conversation.

what are you reading at the moment?
Right now, I’m in the middle of a scifi anthology – anthologies are best, when I’m juggling projects. I get lots of inspiration, and short stories are like bite-sized snacks in between drawings.

what are you listening to at the moment?
Right now, my favorite music is rotating among Elbow’s Seldom Seen Kid, to Abney Park, to Murder by Death. Especially look up that last band, if you haven’t heard ’em already; they’re fantastic.

anything else we should know?
Not at the moment, no. Come June I’ll be looking for employment, so if there’s anyone out there who needs an artist, etc.

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