Saturday, May 24, 2014

getting my hands dirty

Because we just got our assignments for the upcoming Illustration Masters Class.  And while I'll bring my laptop and tablet, I'm going to be spending the week getting my hands dirty with actual pigment suspended in liquid-y mediums (both of the aqueous and oil variety).

HOWEVER.... it's just for kicks.  Because seriously.

(no, I won't be mixing my own egg temepra paints)

Here's some sketchbook dabbling with paint, just working through brustrokes and glazes and color chart type stuff,  because it has been a long time. Thank you Bill Carmen and Rebecca Yanovskaya for being my reference imagery and inspiration.

pthalo blue, mars black, and yellow oxide study using Bill Carmen art as reference
cobalt blue and burnt umber study using Rebecca Yanovskaya's art as reference

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


saw this on io9 the other day.

flex flex twist turn.... oh swooning. how i do love cephalopods.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

'A Girl Who Comes Out of a Chamber at Regular Intervals'

Lacktington Magazine issue 2 just landed (and is available for purchase), including "A Girl Who Comes Out of a Chamber at Regular Intervals" written by Campbell Award Nominee Sofia Samatar and illustrated by me:
illustration for 'A Girl Who Comes Out of a Chamber at Regular Intervals' © galen dara 2014
I first illustrated one of Sofia's stories over at Lightspeed: "How To Get Back to the Forest" and, incidentally,  Sofia is on the line-up for Fireside Magazine year three, which means I'll get yet another chance to work with this amazing woman's storytelling.

I am utterly, fabulously, delighted.

Monday, May 12, 2014

SFALing 2014 (NSFW)

Well, Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 3 was just the thing. No booth for me this time, I wanted the freedom to wander about about, absorbing the awesome. Which meant I came home with a lot more art this time (heheh, /WINCE). From right to left, top to bottom: Rebecca Yanovskaya, Garrett Johnson, Cynthia Sheppard, Annie Stegg (twice), Steve Argyle, Sara Richard (twice) and Wendy Martin:

SFAL 2014 art haul

Also I came home with sketchbooks from John Picacio and Bill Carmen (!!!) with WIP glimpses, notes and a little insight into all the crazy stuff that happens inside an aritst head. I'll be spending the next weeks swimming through those.

Speaking of.. here's some of what I sketched while inflight between Tucson and Kansas City:

sketchbooky pages, © galen dara 2014

Oh and late night life drawing happened, of course, (NSFW)

SFAL3 late night life drawing. © galen dara

It was just all incredibly... fantastic. Three more artists I have to make note of: Shelby Nichols with her lovely creepy darkness, Britt Snyder with his lush, buttery brush strokes, and Dan Chudzinski for his OMFG brain and bone-filled cabinet of curiosities.

One last thing: Chavant clay. Because they were handing out samples in the 3d area (where all the demo sculptors were making awesome with it). And I spent the whole flight home mushing and molding it. I need to get me some more of that.

making clay stuff on my airplane tray table. woooooo.


the Women Destroy Science Fiction issue of Lightspeed magazine is now available for pre-order. Here is a look at the table of contents (this issue is a veritable TOME of freaking awesome females.)
Aaaaand... here's a look at the cover I painted for it:

cover for WOMEN DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION © galen dara 2014 © Lightspeed magazine 2014

For this one I got in touch with my pulpy sf side (didn't even know I had one) and started handing out bazookas. It was pretty different from basically anything I've done before and it was incredibly fun. Thank you Christie Yant, Wendy Wagner and John Joseph Adams for letting me have my little part of destroying Science Fiction!

Stay Tuned: Women Destroy Fantasy and Women Destroy Horror are coming up
(and, apparently, Queers will be destroying SF next year OMG SQUEEEEE) 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

drawing daily (a sort-of goal)

I caught this show on NPR this morning about surgeons getting just rusty enough to make noticeable mistakes after a few days off work. The study was based on the old adage: “If I miss one day’s practice, I notice it. If I miss two days’ practice, the critics notice it. If I miss three days’ practice, the public notices it.”

Also, a friend shared this article the other day, about putting away the camera phone and learning to draw:
"...because drawing can teach us to see: to notice properly rather than gaze absentmindedly. In the process of recreating with our own hand what lies before our eyes, we naturally move from a position of observing beauty in a loose way to one where we acquire a deep understanding of its parts." ~read more
I am working on various illustrations pretty much every day. But I've thought about setting a goal to incorporate pure drawing practice every day. For the fine-tuning of it. For the joy of getting immersed in details. So here, this morning I set the timer for an hour and just put pencil to paper (using photo reference, because I'm swooning over all the lovely layers of fabric.)
an hour of sketching © galen dara 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Making It, Locus Awards, plus other stuff

Heading off to Spectrum Fantastic Art Live this weekend and I'm really really looking forward to so many things, one of them being the Documentary Making It, about, well, making it as an illustrator. 

Then they posted their promo photo and here's what Irene Gallo noticed about it:

(A lot of really great comments on that FB thread, including mention of a lot of great women and people of color who are "making it" as successful illustrators.)

I'm still looking forward to seeing the documentary. But just, yeah.

Anyhooo... Then a few hours later the Locus Awards Finalists were announced and Congrats to all the nominees! It's a wonderful line up.

But there is this:

Which led Julie Dillon to spontaneously tweet a list of 14 amazing women who happen to be illustrators (she did, after all, dedicate a tumbler to the issue.)

Actually... just for my own purposes (and since it's been quite the topic today), here's Julie's tweeted list, with links:

Kirsti Wakelin
Fiona Staples
Ursula Vernon
Terese Nielsen
Lauren Bifano
Rebecca Mock
Becky Cloonan
Karla Ortiz
Victo Ngai
Tran Nguyen
Winona Nelson
Cynthia Sheppard
Audrey Benjaminsen
Lindsey Look

(And that's just scratching the surface. Just today at new fiction went up with an illustration by Anna & Elena Balbusso. I love it when that happens. )

It's hard to know how to make note of this all and not have it come off as seeming negative about the incredible artists that are in that promo photo line-up for Making It (Andrew Bawidamann, Brian Ewing, Eric Fortune,Woodrow J. Hinton III, etc)  and nominated for the Locus Awards (Bob Eggleton, John Picacio, Shaun Tan, Charles Vess, and Michael Whelan.) They are brilliant amazing artists. It's just one of those things. That's all.

Well, I'll leave it at that. Except that I'm happy because issue 13 of Fireside Fiction went up today, including the illustration I did for Jonas David's 'Repossession', and because next week a new story by Sofia Samatar is going live over at Lackingtons, which I also got to illustrate.

illustration for Repossession, © galen dara 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

WAR STORIES- interior art

Did i mention that War Stories will have interior art :) 

When I showed them to Jaym Gates she said "They look like panes from gorgeous graphic novels" which just delights me no end. (And makes me want to play around with sequential art again.)