Down to 4 days! | Q&A with Galen Dara

Still having a bit of trouble with the Kickstarter update page today, so I am posting here again today.

There are just four days to go on the Year Two Kickstarter, and we have a ways to go, but we can do it with your help!

Here is our final Q&A, with Galen Dara, who will be illustrating each issue in Year Two.

fireside promo_FINAL 8x10 smWhen we talked about your doing an illustration for the Kickstarter, I kind of had a vague idea of a storyteller and audience gathered around a fire . How did you get from that to the fatanstical image you created?

Oh that was so much fun! I wanted to do something mysterious and magical, depicting a fireside as this powerful symbol of communal sharing. I wanted the gathering of storytellers to be a menagerie of fantastical beings bringing their mystery and their magic and their stories to the gathering. Neil Gaiman said of storytellers; “We are not our faces… Read the books. That’s when you see us properly: naked priestesses and priests of forgotten religions, our skins glistening with scented oils, scarlet blood dripping down from our hands, bright birds flying out from our open mouths. Perfect, we are, and beautiful in the fire’s golden light…” That is how I see those with the gift for storytelling. That is a bit of what I was trying to channel here.

Where do you look for inspiration? 

I like to look at how other artists have tackled similar imagery. I’ll spend a good bit of time collecting an eclectic range of ideas and visuals from photographers, designers, movies, comics, and art annuals (pinterest is my newest favorite thing), but at a certain point I need to put that all away. Take all those other fabulous creators and put them behind the door so I can dive in doing it my way. If I get stuck, I open the door again and let the party back in, but I have to be careful; that can been an easily justified way of work avoidance.

Is your artwork all done electronically, or do you work on paper and scan, or a mix? Can you tell us what tools you use in either case?

Right now I am almost exclusively a digital artist (tho I used to get my hands dirty and miss it). The Fireside piece is a prime example. Using photoshop and an intuos wacom tablet I start ‘sketching’ very much like how I would with a pencil and eraser. Because it’s digital I can rearrange things and resize things much faster than if it was a pencil on paper sketch. For example; when I initially started working on the Fireside piece I had misunderstood the dimensions and laid it out vertically. When my mistake was pointed out it was relatively easy to cut and copy and paste and re-arrange the sketch to a horizontal layout. Once the preliminary sketch is where I want it, I flatten it and begin to ‘paint’ building up layer upon layer of color. I tend to alternate blending mode paint layers with normal mode paint layers (flattening as I go along) to create depth, similar to glazing with transparent washes in traditional painting. My 9-year-old son has pointed out several times that I have many many brushes in photoshop and it’s a travesty that I only use two of them. I guess I need to think about that.

Do you have any projects you are working on right now that you can tell us about?

This month I’ll be finishing up the cover art for two anthologies; Glitter and Mayhem and The Future Embodied.

Tell us something about you that doesn’t make it into your bio.

I’ve had blue hair for way too long. I need to find a new color.

Year Two Kickstarter (Rewards include postcards and 8x10s of Galen’s Fireside artwork.)

blue hair at workGalen Dara likes to sit in the dark with her sketchbook, but sometimes she emerges to illustrate for books and magazines, dabble in comics, and hatch wild collaborations with friends and associates. Galen has done art for Edge Publishing, Dagan Books, Lightspeed magazineApexScapezineTales to Terrify, Peculiar Pages, Sunstone, and the LovecraftZine. She has blogged for the Inkpunks, BookLifeNow, and the Functional Nerds. When Galen is not online you can find her on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, climbing mountains or hanging out with a loving assortment of human and animal companions. Her portfolio can be viewed at and you can follow her on twitter @galendara.


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