Updates and Gratitude

My goal of getting limited runs of No, Mine! Studios merchandise into stores in Tacoma and Olympia is closer than before. I applied for a reseller permit today, my first button machine is on its way, and I’m finishing up packaging designs to be sent to the printer this weekend.

Getting my business up and running wouldn’t have been possible without support from the Tacoma Arts Commission/ Tacoma Artist Initiative Program, friends and clients who have purchased work over the years, venues who have hosted shows, other artists with whom I have had the privilege of collaborating, and, last but not least, my daughter and co-parent. Thank you all!

For more frequent studio updates, you can follow No, Mine! Studios on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

If you would like to offer No Mine! Studios products in your store, please email nominestudios@gmail.com.

Thank you!

Suzanne

Happy Holidays!

“Santa Dino” by Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved. [2D pixel art dinosaur wearing Santa outfit.]

Whatever you celebrate, I hope you are safe and well. It’s been a hard year. Here’s to better times, and, as always, thank you for all your support!

Suzanne

Staying on Track

Keeping a 4th grade creative genius on task in remote school while also working on my own projects has been challenging at times. I am not always aware that she has an assignment due until she loudly announces, “Oh no! I was supposed to do this by [time in the past/ two minutes from the current time]!!!” Many times while I am trying to concentrate, The Child will barge in to ask questions which could have been written down and/ or Googled for later when she had time. I don’t want to ignore her, but kids at this age need to learn how to prioritize tasks on their own, and sometimes Mom just needs to finish a thought.

So we went old school. While she was sleeping last Sunday night, my co-parent installed a new 2’x3′ corkboard on the wall above her workspace. I taped cool LED lights around the edge of the board and cleaned her desk to give her a fresh start. In the morning, I gave her a stack of Post-It notes and pins. As I handed her the Post-Its, I stated they would only be used for writing down tasks, due dates, and questions related to school.

A blood oath was sworn. I retreated to work in peace, patting myself on the back for my parenting skills.

Chaos ensued. In a matter of hours, the board and her freshly organized workspace had transformed into Post-It Alley. She had perfected Origami frogs, developed an amazing new line of cartoon characters, and somehow missed even more deadlines because she was spending too much time “organizing.” To top it off, it wasn’t long before she burst into my workspace to ask this absolutely life or death question: “Mom, can I have more push-pins?”

Suffice it to say, the few remaining Post-Its were confiscated. I re-approached the drawing board, and designed a series of organizational headers and task cards for her use instead. I intentionally left a couple of blank cards in the design so she can cut out the squares and improvise as needed — ideas of projects to work on independently, plans for world domination, etc. The board looks a lot more organized, and she still has space to color and customize cards that get placed on the board.

Category headings by Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.
PDF available for personal and educational use at no cost.
Task card samples by Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.
PDF available for personal and educational use at no cost.

I am sharing the file for those who’d like to print it out here. It’s free for personal and educational use. If you find this kind of resource useful, you can contribute to studio expenses/ buy me a coffee here. You can also comment below with suggestions for additional cards/ themes. I’d be happy to post additional versions in the future. Please share this blog post with friends who might need it. And if you haven’t yet, please like and follow No, Mine! Studios on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

Cheers!

Suzanne

Notes from the Underground

For those following along, here’s some of the latest progress on my as yet untitled dinosaur game. Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you’d like to show your support for this project, please follow No, Mine! Studios (nominestudios) on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook.

Thank you!

— Suzanne

Progress on as yet untitled dino game. Graphics and sound by Suzanne Skaar, No, Mine! Studios. 2021. All rights reserved.

Work in Progress and Weekend Recap

Picture of child in hoodie hiding behind table. On the front of the table is a large banner which reads "No, Mine! Studios; Suzanne Skaar; nominestudios.com; @nominestudios". A row of pixel art dinosaurs runs along bottom of banner.

Happy Wednesday!

I am still moving slowly after a great weekend at Tacoma’s Arts at the Armory. Junior Play Tester Izzy and her dad Tim put in a lot of work to help me set up the table and encourage others to check out my early stages game demo. I am grateful for the enthusiasm shown my project by gamers and designers of all ages. I hope I was able to point individuals interested in developing their own games in the right direction. I would love to see what you create! For those who need the links, check out the following free resources:

Audacity (audio editing software)

BeepBox (online tool for making and sharing melodies)

Unity (game engine software)

I even had the honor of a little dinosaur testing the dinosaur game. Thank you!

On Saturday evening, I also was given a quick tour of the Armory by the House Manager so I could take reference photos. This building is a great mix of modern and old school spooky, and I’ll probably share some behind-the-scenes pictures through Instagram later.

While the overall atmosphere of the event was kind and welcoming, there is one issue I would like to address. Tim and I have always been supportive of each other’s creative work. When he was invited to art shows in Tacoma and Seattle, I would help carry work into the venues and chat up his paintings to attendees. When I first started working on the game in June 2020, he offered to help although he had never used the game engine I was teaching myself to use. I turned down his offer as this was my project, and if I received help from him, others would assume that he did the lion share of the work. Several articles have been written on this subject matter, from how academic authors are credited through an insightful interview with one of my favorite musicians of all time. No matter how Tim may try to point out to others that he was just helping, that is not what would come across. I initially hesitated to accept staffing help during the event because of these concerns, and he was very conscientious about the situation.

Any time someone would mistakenly refer to Tim as the game developer on Saturday, he would gently correct them. It was easy to do as my name was prominently displayed in large letters on the table banner and on the business cards our daughter was shoving into the hands of passersby. [She took this duty very seriously.] Then on Sunday morning, that approach didn’t work, and Tim actually found himself arguing on my behalf with a few folks that he didn’t work on the game, that it was my art, and, with the exception of physically lugging the equipment to the show, I was doing it all on my own. This is an issue he had never had when I showed up to support his art shows, but it is an issue I have had to contend with multiple times over the years. To avoid further discussions along these lines, I ended up managing the booth for the rest of the weekend on my own. It was a little disheartening but a good reminder of what motivated me to work on this project in the first place. Dismissing women’s capabilities — especially without prior knowledge of the individual’s experience, education, skills, etc. — needs to stop; as such, the impact of societal gender constructs on credibility is a theme of the game.

With that out of the way, notes that were given on the project are being taken seriously. For example, those who expressed disappointment that I had not yet added a volcano will be happy to know they can jump in one.*

They can also jump out, too, because I don’t like violent games.

It was a little surprising how many adults want to throw a cute little dinosaur, one of my favorite creations, into a pit of molten lava. (Poor dino.) But there you go.

TLDR:
Thank you for your support as I continue working on this endeavor. It means a lot to me.

–Suzanne

*Please don’t jump into a volcano. I haven’t attempted it myself, but I’m fairly certain it would hurt. A lot.

Like, a lot a lot.

New work

The countdown is on to the Arts at the Armory event, and the last few weeks have been a flurry of excitement. The banner and an order for buttons were sent off to the printers yesterday. Now my focus is on finishing a small coloring/ activity booklet for my table and a brief demo of some of the game art so far. If you’re in the Tacoma area, come say hello on October 16 or 17.

Draft cover of Coloring and Activity book.

In non-dino game related news, I released another experimental track on Bandcamp today called “And in Time of War (part 1).” This side project (DJ Living Wage) is an excuse to fall into the gloom and doom of October/ politics in general, so be forewarned.

DJ Living Wage is now on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

For more upbeat, pixelated dino goodness, follow No Mine! Studios on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

YouTube

As always, thank you for your support!

— Suzanne

First Track Out Now!

Happy Friday!

Head over to Bandcamp to check out the first track of my “And In Time of War” EP. (Mild language.)

“Meeting from Hell” track cover art. DJ living Wage (Suzanne Skaar), 2021. All rights reserved.

DJ Living Wage is now on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

You can also follow No Mine! Studios on the following social media platforms:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

TikTok

YouTube

Thank you again for your support!

— Suzanne