Monday, October 28, 2013

habits and rituals.

 Just stumbled across this article wherein Oliver Burkeman simmers Daily Rituals by Mason Currey into 6 repeated themes. FASCINATING STUFF.  I must get that book.  Anyhow, I had to make a note of Oliver's distillation  because no.6, Learn To Work Anywhere, is the story of my life. I'm writing this while camped out in the corner of my local skating rink, plugged into the only available electrical outlet.

Getting work done while the kid glow skates to his heart's content.

(Why did I not come here to work on Glitter & Mayhem? Why?)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A short collection of past inkpunky advice

I have a new post up at the Inkpunks. Well, actually, it's collection of stuff that my fellow inkpunks have written over the past few years:  inspiring, motivating, informative stuff! Go check it out!

"Ya know, these inkpunk people have written a lot of really smart stuff. I remember when I first started reading the blog a few years ago each new post was a breath of fresh air and inspiration. At the time I was trying to restart my own creative life with ambitions to write an epic fantasy novel or maybe create a webcomic, or at least start drawing again, SOMETHING! Every post left me feeling energized and ready to do it.
So today I decided to select a few inkpunk gems from the past, focusing on inspiration, setting goals, style, writing exercises, etc. Whether you are gearing up for NaNoWriMo* next month, looking for motivation to start a new creative endeavor, or full tilt in your current WIP, may this help fuel the fires and release the madness." ~read more

btw, you can follow the Inkpunks on twitter and facebook for updates from this fabulous little collective of creative individuals.

Speaking of stuff from the past, here's a page from my sketchbook a few years ago. (And here's the flickr set with more.)

sketchbooky stuff by galen dara.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


After you have gotten your fix of modern military science fiction, you really should go check out the quirkier side of kickstarter with HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!!  Based on the short story of the same name by Keffy R. M. Kehrli published at Lightspeed Magazine, that delicious little piece of fiction convinced editor John Joseph Adams that a whole anthology based on the concept of  improbable kickstarters needed to happen. After all the kickstarters I've been involved with... I CONCUR. 

My part in this is small, I just drew some robots. These ones:

illustration by galen dara for FUND MY ROBOT ARMY

A little something about me: I don't think I could draw a nice neat straight line to save my life. My robots tend to be loopy.  Here's some WIP sketches as I played with robots:
initial loopy-style robots

preliminary grouping for a robot army
eventually the grouping went this way, for simplicity and the ominous robot factor.
For more info about Help Fund HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY and for KITTIES!! watch the trailer:

(And to conclude, you really must keep the Women Destroy SF special issue of Lightspeed on your radar for next year)

Monday, October 14, 2013

War Stories Kickstarter is now live

More information and how to pledge here. Follow on facebook and twitter for updates.

cover art by galen dara

Friday, October 11, 2013

character studies for Elementari Rising

I had the pleasure of doing some character sketches for Nancy Hightower's upcoming novel Elementari Rising (going to the publishers soon!)

Here are my two favorites:
Seinna, a character from Elementari Rising written by Nancy Hightower. Art by Galen Dara.
"Sienna could scarcely see more than ten feet in front of her, nothing but murky shadows of leaf and limb. The foliage underneath her feet had turned to such a deep shade of blue-green that it almost looked black, and was joined by thick vines snaking their way across the path. Another clearing lay up ahead where the daylight was allowed to settle unencumbered.

She moved in the direction of the path, but stopped at the sound of a twig snapping. She lifted her torch high. “Who’s there!” she yelled. No answer. She moved slowly towards the path when she heard another crack.

To her left, two yellow eyes peered out from the deep shadows.
“So, you’ve found me again,” Sienna said as she backed away. A deep growl emitted from the trees. “Come on then. We’ve not got all day,” she baited, reaching inside the folds of her outer cloak.
Slowly the white wolf crawled out of its hiding place, teeth bared as it continued to snarl. The widow pulled out her dagger and brandished it with one hand while holding the torch in the other. “Remember this? It gave you that nice little scar. I’d be happy to give you another,” she said, almost growling herself.

The wolf sprang." ~excerpt from Elementari Rising.

Samara, a character from Elementari Rising, written by Nancy Hightower. Art by Galen Dara

 "The little girl was near Jenna’s age, perhaps a year younger. Her dress and sleeves were ripped from the thickets, leaving scratches on her arms and legs. She stopped to shake the snow from her short dark hair while a whimper escaped her lips. Then she bowed her head and sprinted forward. A blast of wind swept the white flakes side to side, making wispy snow snakes that followed her. Another gust and the snakes writhed, each piece blending into the other until one large serpent began to slither behind her, closing in...." ~excerpt from Elementari Rising.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

expanding #sffwrtcht

Last night was #sffwrtcht and it was an awesome experience (here's the full transcript if you are interested).  Thank you so much Bryan for having me on!   There was more to say than I had time for, not to mention aspects that simply go beyond the 140char limit. This question in particular is one I keep thinking about:

That's something I'm still working on myself, but I do have a some ideas based on things that have helped me to get where I am right now,  So grab some salt, here goes:

~Get involved in art events where you can interact with other artists: off the top of my head I'm thinking of such online events as 24 hr comic day, Inktober, 30 character challenge, recurring Art Order Challenges#draw365, and #DrinkandDraw but there are many other opportunities as well.

~Create new work on a regular basis and share it (on flickr, facebook, twitter, whatever is your preference.)

~Look into instructional opportunities like the Illustration Masters Class and SmART school. They are worth the money spent not just in terms of the knowledge and training you will receive but also in expanding your connections in the art world.

~Attend conventions, both art centered (like Spectrum and Illuxcon and Comic Con) as well as more writer oriented conventions such as Worldcon, World Fantasy Con, World Horror Con, etc.

~Get your work into the Art Shows at those conventions.

~Sign up for a booth at those conventions.

~Send work in for inclusion in art annuals (Spectrum 21 opens for submissions this month.)

So there you go, what I was not able to fit nicely into 140char last night during SFFWRTCHT last night

Oh, wait, one more thing. On the importance of connections (because many of my suggestions are about making connections). Bryan asked me what role connections played in my success, and this sums up exactly what has helped me get where I am now:

That was my big break. Where it all began. I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for that initial connection.  (Thank you John!)

And now, because it's Inktober.. here, more stuff that crawled out of my pen the other day.
antlers and branches. sketch by galen dara

Saturday, October 5, 2013

#SFWRTCHT happening next week

I'm nervous and excited: this coming Wednesday at 9pm EDT I'll be participating in a twitter discussion with Bryan Thomas Schmidt on SFF Writers Chat. Come join the conversation (follow hashtag #sfwrtcht*), it will be a party! For a sample of previous sfwrtchts with artists, here's the transcripts for past discussions with the (multiple) award winning John Picacio and the most amazing MCA Hogarth. (What, intimidated? Me? noooooo...)

*Crap. I got the hashtag wrong. It's #sffwrtcht. But it went great anyways, here's the transcript. Thanks Bryan!

Now, for kicks, here's a little something that recently crawled out of my pen and started staring at me. Just had to share!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

War Stories Cover Art.

Cover reveal! Here's what I've been working on for the War Stories anthology

Very sobering subject matter, one that editors Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak take very seriously. The anthology will Kickstart soon, and the book will be available for release in 2014. Here is the current list of contributors and how to submit stories for consideration.  For updates follow War Stories on Facebook and Twitter.

preliminary place holder art, based on one of the soldiers