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Become A Game Designer

By Sarah Keith

Ingredients: A bit of inspiration, a dash of creativity, a pinch of insanity, and TONS of perseverance!

Since graduating from college I have done commercial and fine art on a freelance basis for small businesses, creating logos, brochures, letterheads, and also for interior designers doing custom painting on furniture, rugs, and walls in various styles. In 1978/79, I was the Graphic Arts Director for the Urban League-Media Center of Palm Beach County, Florida.

I married Bob in 1982. In 1984 we had our first child, and named him Jared. At that time I decided to stop my career and devote myself to raising my son. In 1988 we had our second son, Jacob. Knee deep in diapers, and wearing 'spit-up' as my medal of honor, the thought of having a career, other than mothering, wasn't at the top of my list! By the time Jacob was a year old, I was itching to restart my freelance commercial art business. I began to call on interior designers and send out brochures, and began to get work! But an unplanned event occurred and I found myself pregnant once again. (Bob and I have since figured out how that happens, and have made sure that three kids was our limit. Bob got the BIG-V! I convinced him that I had my fill of pain in the lower regions of my body, and that it was now HIS TURN! ) I worked till I was nine months pregnant and once again retired to full time mothering. In 1990, we had Dana, our baby girl. Thus, our family was complete.

In the years that followed, using my background and training, I began developing games and activities for my children to learn and play with. One day, while sitting amidst my babies, and playing one of my games, it occurred to me that I might be able to market them, (the games that is). So, in 1993, I launched "Creative Imaginations Toy & Game Design". I was inspired to name my company Creative Imaginations due to the inspiration that I have received from my three children! My goal is to focus on developing activities, toys, and games for children to learn and play with! I consult with other creative people in areas of education, marketing, engineering, and music, in order to accomplish my goal!

I have developed over twenty-five games, toys and activities for children. I have submitted my ideas to every major game and toy maker, and publisher in the world. My rejection file is incredibly DEEP! I have wanted to give up more times than anyone can imagine. (I'm either incredibly tenacious or really thick and love being rejected!) In 1996 I contracted four of my games to a major sporting goods company. That was a really big break through, and had I not made those contracts I probably would have quit. (Those four games sat on their production shelf for over two years, and sorry to say nothing ever went further than that. I've since withdrew my contracts from them. I need to write another article on 'the art of making sure you have a good contract'. I think I'll put that in my website.) In 1998, I made a contact with a company out of Colorado. Within three months I had signed another contract. In a month from now, one of my most important and favorite playmat games will be available in the marketplace! Tenacity Rules! The Colorado company likes many of my other game concepts too, and we will probably do many more games together!

In October of 1998, I was contacted by Asterisk Features to develop a weekly interactive cartoon feature for the Sunday comics. (An interactive feature has to be something that will draw young readers to their local newspaper so they can personally participate in that feature, thereby getting them hooked to come back each week.) This was a whole new market that I had never considered and a great opportunity. But, this was no small task! With trepidation I said, "Sure, I can do that!" I developed four ideas and presented them to the president of Asterisk Features. But, they really weren't the kind of thing that could sustain themselves year after year. So, I decided to 'put it on the back burner' and see what might simmer to the top. The holidays passed and I remembered that I had been intrigued earlier that year by an ancient form of puzzle-making known as Tangrams. I thought that possibly Tangrams could fit into a weekly interactive cartoon feature, and the idea was born! I named it "Picture This". Picture This-Tangrams is now available online, and is set to be launched in the Fall of 1999 for World-Wide newspaper distribution!

Today, I'm still very involved in the lives of my children, as well as my church. I help to plan and implement programs at my church and serve on the education committee too. I work as a volunteer at my children's elementary school, and play test many of my new games there. The children at school refer to me as 'the game lady'. For a while I thought I'd name my website, GameLady.Com. (When I began this crazy quest to create children's products I didn't even own a computer. Now, six years later, I'm into my second computer and I've even designed two of my own websites, HTML and all!)

I'm also in the process of finding a publisher for my Christmas craft book entitled, Chrismon Snowflake Ornaments. I have also begun to write a book for girls ages 6-12 years, which contains Christian craft projects, games and recipes.

It's now the summer of 99'. The kids are home for the summer, and I'm off to ride bikes with them. Who knows what will simmer to the top? Stir it up!

See and discover more about my work at the following websites:
Creative Imaginations! (http://www.creativeimaginations.net)
and
Christian Crafters.Com (http://www.christiancrafters.com)

Creative Imaginations! features free Tangram puzzles for kids and adults. The second site, Christian Crafters.Com is a meeting place for Christian crafters. There are free patterns, ideas and Bible games for the taking. These two sites are a great resource for mothers and teachers. Both sites have lots of great links too!

I grew up in West Palm Beach Florida. In 1978 I received my Associate Of Arts degree in Fine Art from Palm Beach Community College. I graduated with honors in 1981, receiving my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Psychology and a minor in Religion from Palm Beach Atlantic College.

If you have any questions, I would love to talk!
Best Wishes and Blessings,
Sarah Keith
Lake Park, FL

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