Meet the illustrator: A Q&A with Village artist Katherine Elliott

Sago Mini Illustrator Katherine Elliott

Here at Sago Mini, teamwork makes the dream work – especially when it comes to our art department! Each app is lovingly illustrated by at least a few of our talented in-house artists, illustrators and designers. Today, we chat with Katherine Elliott, a Sago Mini production artist, dog petter and friendly face who created much of the gorgeous artwork that appears in Village, our latest app.

Where did you grow up? Did you draw any inspiration from your own home "village"?

Mississauga, Ontario! (It was pretty mundane and suburban but...) Yes, some of the blocks were inspired by colours and shapes I saw growing up. An example of this is the clock at the Erin Mills Town Centre and the clock roof block.

Did the fantastical, magical setting of Village help or hinder your creativity when it came time to design the artwork?

The magical setting really helped inspire and ground our teeny-tiny fantastical homes! Things like mushroom roofs and treasure chests are a bit out of place in an average town look perfectly at home surrounded by huge trees and fireflies.

What's your favourite type of building to construct in the game? Any secret tips and tricks you want to share?

I like making tall towers with a little window at the top, like the one in Rapunzel. Or little underground bunkers for gnomes that need a little pretty from socializing. I also love using the theatre block because I had a toy puppet theatre as a child that looked a lot like it and it reminds me of putting on puppet shows with my sisters.

The Erin Mills town centre, which inspired some of the Village artwork!

This is the first gnome-only game! Can you take us through your decision to focus on these special secondary characters?

We went back and forth for a long time on whether our main characters should be included in Village or not. We even considered putting in big statues of them for the gnomes to look up too! But ultimately there was a lot of boring logistics with the size of the characters and the gnomes and making the blocks fit with everyone. Also as soon as Harvey comes in, there’s a lot of shades of brown that can’t be used. On the plus side, this let us really lean into the idea of the gnomes being tiny.

How did you come up with the names for the gnomes?

Originally I had asked Katherine D, another illustrator on the team, if they had any names (because she’s the one who designed them) and she said “If you’d like to name them, by all means go ahead” but naming 11 new gnomes is a lot of pressure so I decided it should be a team effort. I asked our Village app slack channel if each person would like to name a gnome. It yielded some very creative results from everybody!

Meet Katherine Elliott, friendly face and brilliant production artist!

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