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.

Tacoma Arts Month Kickoff Party!

No, Mine! Studios will be at the official kick-off party for Tacoma Arts Month! The Kaleidoscope Opening Party is free and will be hosted at Tacoma’s STAR Center on October 5 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Stop by and test the latest progress on the as-yet-untitled dino game.The last public demo was at the October 2021 Arts at the Armory event. There’s still so much to do, but I am excited to share the progress made since then!

For those interested in being included in the game as an NPC, I’ll have audio recording equipment and permission forms on hand as well. 🙂

I received support for the research and development of game background art from the Tacoma Arts Commission through the 2021-2022 Tacoma Artist Initiative Program. (While the Kickoff Party will mark the completion of my participation in the program, I’ll definitely be working on the game for the foreseeable future.) For those who would like to learn more about this program, I’ll be talking about my TAIP experience at the September 12 Commission meeting.

You can help support this small, Tacoma-based business by liking, following, and sharing @nominestudios on the following platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

YouTube

You can also buy a dino a coffee here.

Thank you!

Suzanne

Upcoming events

In game screencapture. Dinosaur walking with box labeled “fragile” covering top half of body. As yet untitled game by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

Happy Tuesday!

I have been invited to talk about my project at the September 12 Tacoma Arts Commission meeting which will be recorded and posted for the public. If you would like to check out what’s been going on in Tacoma, you can find the Arts Commission meetings here. The new Tacoma Arts Initiative Program (TAIP) application should be up in a couple of months, and these meetings are a great way to gather insight into what Commissioners look for in project proposals.

In the next few weeks, I’ll also be able to share more information about a free all-ages arts party in Tacoma that No, Mine! Studios will be a part of. Mark your calendars for the evening of October 5! Although I still have a lot more that I plan to do in terms of game development, this event will be the final component of my TAIP 2021-2022 Project.

As always, thank you for your support! 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

You can buy a dino a coffee here. And you can buy a dino along with other artwork here.

Stay safe!

Suzanne

New work and online shop updates!

I’ve been updating my Redbubble shop (@nominestudios). New and old work are available on a variety of products. Check it out, and if there’s a design you’d like to see on the shop, let me know!

“Hobbes” by Suzanne Skaar, 2022, all rights reserved. Art available on multiple products at Redbubble shop (@nominestudios).
“Swallow” by Suzanne Skaar, 2014, all rights reserved. Art available on multiple products at Redbubble shop (@nominestudios).
“Nerd Badge” by Suzanne Skaar, 2020, all rights reserved. Art available on multiple products at Redbubble shop (@nominestudios).

As always, thank you for your support! If you like what you see, please share No, Mine! Studios with a friend!

You can help support this small, Tacoma-based business by liking and following @nominestudios on the following platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

YouTube

You can also buy a dino a coffee here.

Cheers!

Suzanne

Work in Progress

Good morning!

My next live demo is at Grit City Comic Show’s Artist Alley in October, & I’ll be announcing my TAIP artist talk soon, so I’ve been hard at work on background art, secondary character design, & animations.

In game screenshot of as yet untitled pixel art dinosaur game. Small black and ivory T-rex sitting in between two buildings looking up at a green brontosaurus peering from behind building. On top of the building to the right is a sign which reads “The Very Diverse Society for Old Dude Bros.” Pink “No, Mine! Studios” logo in bottom righthand corner.
Art by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.
In game screenshot of as yet untitled pixel art dinosaur game. Small black and ivory T-rex sitting in bush in front of brick building loosely based on Tacoma’s Armory (“The Rawrmory”). Cannon on top of roof to the right. Small triceratops sits atop a tower to the left. White “No, Mine! Studios” logo in bottom righthand corner.
Art by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

I’m open to other opportunities, too! 😊 Email nominestudios@gmail.com.

If you’d like to help this project reach a wider audience, please follow No, Mine! Studios (nominestudios) on the following platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

YouTube

You can also buy a dino a coffee here.

Thank you very much for supporting a Tacoma-based, woman-owned small business!

— Suzanne

Tacoma History, Dinos, and Game Dev

I’ve been looking up the history of cool Tacoma buildings I want to reference in my game and did some digging into what used to be an old theater in the Lincoln District.

When it was first built, the owner made it so that women (not men, mind you) could have a separate nursery area for caring for their kids and still see the screen. It closed in 1958, became a theater not at all appropriate for kids, then a church. It’s been boarded up for a while, now.

While I usually change the names of buildings/ businesses to dinosaur/prehistoric puns, I think I’ll keep the original name in this instance.

A challenge with drawing from historical references for this game has been to not be too literal in the design process. I’ve taken some liberties with background art design for the purpose of keeping with the game’s overall style. For example, looking at my illustration and the historical photo of Rex Theatre side by side, it’s easy to see that my version is a little taller and less rounded on the top than the original. Another difference is that while the original theater had 650 seats, I don’t think 650 dinosaurs could fit into the original theater.

At least not 650 adult T-Rexes. The building itself is only 6,000 square feet, and T-rexes could grow up to 40 feet long and 12 feet high, and that’s not accounting for width…

So rest assured, my overthinking friends who also get caught up in historical details, I am overthinking this, too, and we’re just going to let some things slide. And the other details I can’t let slide will be dealt with in the game as awkwardly as possible. Like what happens when you try to jam as many dinosaurs as you can into a theater.

I’m grateful to the Tacoma Arts Commission for supporting this part of the game research process through the Tacoma Artist Initiative Program (TAIP). You can learn about other TAIP projects by clicking here.

9 year anniversary of No, Mine! Studios

Social media reminded me that 11 years ago today, I made the announcement that I was expecting my Junior Tester, a.k.a. “Kiddo,” and 9 years ago today, I started this website, nominestudios.com, borrowing the then 1.5-year-old’s favorite phrase.

Inspiration. 2013. Photo by Suzanne Skaar.

The development of this website inspired me in many ways to make the switch from painting to digital art. The need to keep two cats and a toddler out of my ink and paper supply also provided a lot of motivation to this end. I started off doing animations using a mouse and an old MacBook that kept dying. I was finally able to update my equipment two years ago to a computer capable of running current forms of Windows and a Wacom tablet after the pandemic once again necessitated a shift in work styles.

And now, I’m fortunate enough to be developing a game, experimenting with music and sound effects, and doing research/ background art with support of the Tacoma Arts Commission Artist Initiative Program.

Here’s a look back on some of my work through the years. Apparently WordPress is still glitching on mobile apps with some of the animations :(, so if you can view this on desktop, it will hopefully work better.

Thank you all for your support!

Suzanne

Click on any photo below to expand to slide show view.

Screenshot Saturday

Happy Screenshot Saturday!

This week I’ve been building out the game environment, adding details, and working on sound design. Here’s a peek:

7 15 2022 in game engine clip. Visual and sound design by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

As a reminder, it’s not too late to add your voice to the game as a background character! Please click here for more details, or email nominestudios@gmail.com with questions.

As always, thank you for your support!

Suzanne