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We commissioned artist Galen Dara to illustrate a piece of her choice, and she chose her inspiration in family and the internal exploration of what we take for given truths.

Below, you can see the finished piece for “Unspooling Her Heart,” and read Dara’s words on the process and concept behind it.


Unspooling Her Heart, by Galen Dara

"Unspooling Her Heart" ©2022 by Galen Dara


In my personal work I’m exploring themes of unfurling, unraveling, falling apart? Falling to pieces maybe. Exposing the insides of things. Exposing what was thought to be solid to actually be quite ephemeral. Taking a closer look at the coding, at the DNA, at generational trauma and family of origin attachment styles. Rebirth, rejuvenation, reinvention, rewriting the code.


Below, Dara reveals how she works, using layering, color, and finally texture to create her dreamlike images:


Process for “Unspooling Her Heart” © 2022 by Galen Dara

Galen Dara has created art for DAW Books, HarperCollins Publishing, Scientific American, Wizards Of The Coast, Subterranean Press, Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, and Strange Horizons. She won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist in 2013, followed by nominations in 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 for Best Professional Artist. She won the 2016 World Fantasy Award, a 2017 Spectrum Award, a 2017 Chesley Award, and has been nominated several times for the Locus Award. She’s on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @galendara, and on her website at You can reach her via email at
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