Drawing with Mauricio

Screenshot of artist tutorial intro page by Mauricio Robalino, 2022: all rights reserved.
Editing, sound, graphics, and additional footage by Suzanne Skaar, No, Mine! Studios. 2022.

I am excited to share my latest collaboration with Tacoma Artist Mauricio Robalino. Mauricio was awarded a grant as part of the Tacoma Artist Initiative Program to document his work and processes through a series of short videos. Due to the pandemic, we were only able to meet in person a couple of months ago, but since then, I have helped him with recording audio, editing, and shooting additional footage for his project. This series has been a lot of fun to work on!

Here is the link to his video entitled Artist Philosophy.” Please subscribe to his YouTube channel to check out other videos in the series and share with friends.

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

South Side Animation Club

Animated gif of a dinosaur happily bouncing up and down side to side.
Happy dinosaur. Gif. Suzanne Skaar. 2020. All rights reserved.

I just received word that the City of Tacoma has approved funding for No, Mine! Studios to start the South Side Animation Club!

This all ages/ all-levels gathering will be once a month, free to the public, and is meant to bring more opportunities in the arts to residents in the South End, East Side, and South Tacoma. (It’s not a requirement to live in these neighborhoods: others are welcome to participate, too.)

A large portion of the funding received will be used to compile starter kits with drawing paper, pens, pencils, etc. and more for participants who need supplies. There will also be a projector and screen on hand so that participants can share works in progress.

There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work to take care of before the first meeting in the Spring: securing a venue in the South End Tacoma, getting the word out to interested artists, securing supplies/ equipment, and more. If you want to get involved, please email nominestudios@gmail.com.

I am grateful to the City of Tacoma for this opportunity. I’ll share more news as it becomes available.

Suzanne

T Minus 7

The Countdown to Tacoma’s Arts at the Armory is on! Mark your calendars for December 10 and 11, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. for your chance to support local independent artists.

While you’re there, stop by my booth to play test my in-progress dinosaur game demo. I will also have a limited supply of stickers and buttons for sale.

In honor of Screenshot Saturday, here’s a glimpse at what I’m currently working on:

Sticker Sheet! The Pink Series by Suzanne Skaar, 2021-22. All rights reserved.

I look forward to seeing you!

Suzanne

Yeetcosystem Promo Premiere

Concept art for Yeetcosystem. Suzanne Skaar, 11/2/2022. All rights reserved. Visit yeetcosystem.com for more information.

The subtitled version of the first Yeetcosystem Promo is set to premiere on YouTube at noon today (November 16, PST )!

[Content warning: There is one swear word, and it’s not even my favorite — I mean a really bad one.]

I promise I’ll get back to posting dinos and other work soon — unless some actual investors want to make this project happen. [How much would liability insurance on a project like this cost? Ten dollars?]

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

Side Project/ Game News

Yeetcosystem. Logo by Suzanne Skaar, 10/25/2022. All rights reserved. Visit yeetcosystem.com for more information today!

Recently, I began pitching my exciting new business venture, Yeetcosystem (TM). The first promotional video is up now. Please check it out, unless you’re not allowed to watch videos with a swear word in them. [I forgot to bleep something. I blame sleep deprivation/ laziness/ being a grown up who occasionally uses mild curse words in public.]

In game screen capture. As yet untitled dino game by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

In other news, I am happy to announce that No, Mine! Studios will be back at Tacoma’s Arts at the Armory event on December 10 and 11, 2022! I’ll be listed in the materials under my name (Suzanne Skaar) in case you have troubles finding me at the Armory. The dino game will available for playtesting for those interested in seeing the latest progress. I’ll also have buttons and stickers for sale for those looking for last minute holiday gifts.

If you want to help a small, mom-owned business, there are a lot of ways to do so! Follow No, Mine! Studios (@nominestudios) on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

No, Mine! Studios is also still on Twitter, but…? We’ll see how this goes…

You can also Buy a Dino a coffee by clicking here.

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

About Kanye’s Yecosystems…

Do you think the news of Kanye West’s new minicities called “Yecosystems” will have a negative impact on my new business venture, The “Yeetcosystem?”

I guess now is as good a time as any to debut the concept:

Concept art for Yeetcosystem. Suzanne Skaar, 10/25/2022. All rights reserved. Visit yeetcosystem.com for more information..

Text in image:

“Yeetcosystem

How it works

Luxury condos are constructed on working catapults.

When climate change threatens the safety of the building, whether due to intensity of storms, flooding, or riots, the catapult is released, ‘yeeting’ the inhabitants to safety.

Secure your place on the waitlist today!

Investors, please visit yeetcosystem.com for more information.

Concept art by Suzanne Skaar, 2022. Nominestudios.com.”

While I’m waiting for this new enterprise to take off, if you haven’t yet done so, please like, follow, and share No, Mine! Studios (@nominestudios) on the following social media platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

YouTube

A huge thank you to everyone who came by to show their support at Grit City Comic Show! And thank you for your patience regarding our technical difficulties. Who knew affordable access to electricity for vendors would be so vital to a game demo at a convention?

If you want to help support a small, mom-owned business, you can buy a dino a coffee here and buy art online here.

For media, retail, and event inquiries, please email me at nominestudios@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

Resources

Happy Friday!

As promised earlier this week and to those I spoke with at the City of Tacoma Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party, here are some resources that I have found useful while working on my as yet untitled dino game.

Screencapture of how a scene is assembled in Unity. Artwork by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

GAME ENGINE

I am building my game in Unity, which is free for individuals who make under a certain amount of income from games per year. I am brand new, and I have definitely not come close to that threshhold yet. Another engine that other artists like using is Unreal. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking about testing it when I start on my next project. A great benefit of Unreal is that they do offer funds for some projects. Here’s the link for more info.

2022 8 1 Progress. In game capture. As yet untitled dino game by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

GRAPHICS

(NOTE: This is not a paid promotion by Adobe. If they would like to change that, my bank account is all ears.)

I create the initial designs of characters, objects, and background art in Adobe Photoshop. I held on for as long as I could to my 2009 MacBook and hard copy of Photoshop CS 6, but at this point, I am now locked into the full Creative Cloud. It’s expensive, so if others would like to suggest free/ cheap alternatives that work well with Unity, please comment below. The import process between Photoshop and Unity is fairly simple. I can share a sample video of the process if others are interested, but there are also many tutorials on YouTube.

AUDIO

When getting the sound ready for the game, I have used a combination of Audacity (audio editing software), BeepBox (online tool for making and sharing melodies), and more recently, Adobe Audition. The first two are free whereas Audition comes with Creative Cloud subscriptions. I have used Audition more for marketing than content creation so far.

Video capture of in game play. Graphics and sound by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

VIDEO

For video, I have been relying on Open Broadcast Studio (OBS) for screencaptures and Adobe Premiere Pro for compiling videos. OBS is free, and I am still figuring it out. For Creative Cloud subscribers, Audition is linked to Premiere, so changing audio levels or doing simple effects like fade in/ fade out is relatively fast.

TUTORIALS

I started researching how to turn my concept into a game using Unity in March 2020. Since then, I have watched a lot of videos which break down the process of animating sprites, importing audio, and more. Due to updates from game engine platforms, some of these tutorials may become outdated fairly quickly, but I really like the teaching styles of Brackeys and BurgZerg Arcade. While Brackeys is no longer posting new videos, they have a plethora of great ones still up on YouTube. GDC posts a lot of great talks about game design from all angles. From the business side, I recently discovered the Future of Play channel on YouTube. The Publish Me Punish Me series is entertaining and informative.

If you think this kind of post is helpful, please like and share with friends. You can also support No, Mine! Studios on the following social media platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

YouTube

If you’re local to Tacoma, I would love to see you at Grit City Comic Show on October 22, 2022! In addition to having the game progress available for playing, I’ll have a limited supply of merchandise for sale.

If you’re not able to attend but want to help support No, Mine! Studios financially, you can buy a dino a coffee here and buy art online here.

For media, retail, and event inquiries, please email me at nominestudios@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

Kaleidoscope Party Recap

This is a few days later than I had hoped, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone who attended the Tacoma Arts Month Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party at the STAR Center. Thank you to the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks staff and the Tacoma Arts Commission for this great opportunity! And a special thanks to the Arts Commission for accepting my game into the 2021-2022 Tacoma Artist Initiative Program. The game demo went well, and I can’t express how much I appreciate the support!

It was great to see 2021-2022 Tacoma Artist Initiative Program recipients Curtis Ashby and Tamiko Nimura! [Tamiko is a 2022 AMOCAT Award Winner! ] Thank you to the Tacoma Arts Commissioners, artists, and staff who popped in to say hi and check out the game in between taking care of other duties for the party. And I loved seeing how far indie game devs will go to support each other, like Natasha who came all the way from Seattle! (Check out her work!) It was absolutely a packed house at times, so I didn’t get a chance to thank everyone personally.

I am especially grateful for my co-parent Tim Kapler and Izzy’s hard work. In addition to helping with the setup and tear down processes, I was informed by several attendees that Izzy did a great job directing people to the game demo, as well as pitching the game itself. Despite being encouraged by both parents to focus on enjoying the party, multiple trips to the pancake station and the Grand Cinema’s table for popcorn only strengthened the Junior Tester’s resolve to make sure everybody in the building had a studio business card and tried the game for themselves.

I ran out of stickers and buttons at the event, but more will be available for sale at the Grit City Comic Show on October 22 at the Tacoma Convention Center. Please let me know via email (nominestudios@gmail.com) if there is
a specific item you are looking for, and I’ll do my best to have it on hand (within reason). I also have a smaller set up for those who haven’t gotten a chance to check out the game progress yet.

Because a few individuals asked, I am available to speak to local classes and am open to teaching beginning animation and digital art classes. Please email nominestudios@gmail.com.

For those who asked about the tools I am using to make my game, I’ll share a more in-depth blog post later this link, along with links to tutorials that I have found helpful.

A common theme of the night was talking to people who had either made an indie game and not released it, or wanted to make an indie game but didn’t know where to start. If you are interested in seeing more indie games flourish in Tacoma, let’s connect! There are so many talented creators here in the 253! I want to see the local dev’s game about revolution in my Steam account!!! (I didn’t grab your contact info, so please contact me if you see this!)

There are many ways to help support No, Mine! Studios. If you haven’t yet done so, you can like and follow No, Mine! Studios for more frequent updates on the following social media platforms:

Facebook

 

Instagram

 

Twitter

 

TikTok

 

YouTube

Financial contributions are appreciated. I am considering options such as crowdfunding to hire a local programmer to help get the game ready for publication. Until that campaign kicks off, you can buy a dino a coffee here. And you can buy some of my art online here.

Thank you again for your support, Tacoma and beyond!

Suzanne

Pixel Art Minizines by Suzanne Skaar. Layout of zines on table by Izzy. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. 2022. All rights reserved.
Photo by Tim Kapler. City of Tacoma Arts Month Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party. No, Mine Studios Game Demo. Artwork by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.
Photo by Tim Kapler. City of Tacoma Arts Month Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party. No, Mine Studios Game Demo. Artwork by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.
Photo by Tim Kapler. City of Tacoma Arts Month Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party. No, Mine Studios Game Demo. Artwork by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

Tacoma Arts Commission Meeting

In this picture: Text: “As Yet Untitled Dino Game; 2021-2022 TAIP Funded Project; Suzanne Skaar.” Background art: screen capture of black and white pixel art dinosaur peering over green brick wall in underground environment. Different colored pipes form networks throughout the foreground and background of the picture. Pink No, Mine! Studios logo is in the bottom right corner.

I’ll be presenting at the next Tacoma Arts Commission meeting!

Join us online on Monday, September 12, 2022 at 5 p.m. I’ll be talking about my experience as part of the 2021-2022 Tacoma Arts Initiative Program Funded Cohort and progress on my first game. Information is available on the City of Tacoma’s website.

Thank you for your continued support!

Suzanne

Stop Normalizing Charging Artists Submission Fees

“If all the other galleries charged submission fees to jump off a bridge, would you?”

“How much is the normal submission fee to jump off the bridge? Will artists have to pay for the bungee cords and protective gear on top of the application fee? Would it be during Art Walk? Will there be a no-host bar?”

An online discussion over the weekend about the ethics of charging artists submission fees led to some misogynist and ableist attacks on my intelligence, mental health, and character, as well as what would seem to be a not-so-veiled threat. So of course, I decided to talk about the practice here.

Artists shouldn’t pay submission fees to have work considered.

Not if the work will be seen by “so many people,” not if “other galleries are charging fees,” and not if accepted artists will receive some kind of perk that can be purchased from that business any other time of the year for the same amount of money as the submission fee.

Other authors have already done excellent jobs on explaining how submission fees frontload the risk of shows onto artists. Martha Knox gives a detailed breakdown on the subject, particularly how the charging of fees maintains the status quo of who is represented in the art world. Please read her article, aptly named “Stop Charging and Paying Artist Submission Fees.”  The site Art Business Info. for Artists covers the phenomenon of “vanity galleries” — galleries which make their money off of artists and not actually selling artists’ work. If you’re just starting out as an artist, or if you know someone who is struggling in this field, please, please read their page for a great list of red flags.

Instead of repeating the information found on these sites, here are resources for finding arts organizations that don’t charge submission fees.

Seattle-based Artist Trust recently revised their opportunities website to list whether an organization charges submission fees up front. They also have a number of grants available for Washington-based artists, as well as assistance for those interested in learning how to apply for said grants.  

Submittable’s advanced search option allows creators to exclude results with fees. If you haven’t used it before, click the “Sign In” button to create a free account.

An international site that I have had luck with in the past for writing opportunities is the UK-based Writers HQ. Not only do they list the compensation writers can expect to receive, “Writers’ HQ will now only be accepting listings from organisations offering accessible submission opportunities for low-income writers.” Many of the opportunities listed are free.

Submission fees are exploitative. Stop normalizing them, and start creating spaces for more artists to thrive.

Suzanne

I try to share resources as I find them. If this kind of advice is helpful, please let me know either in the comments or by email (nominestudios@gmail.com), and I’ll make it a more regular feature on the blog.

Throwback to 2006 Equilibrium Artist Collective first show “Eye Full.” Guest artists were invited to join us at each collective pop-up event, over 100 attendees each event, and not a single submission fee was charged to artists. First “Moped Guy” painting (Suzanne Skaar, 2006) on display in top right corner of background.