We’re moving right along with our Who’s Who series, but with a bit of a twist. Now it’s time for the ol’ razzle-dazzle: spotlights on individual team members. So many of our team members have widely encompassing jobs that we’re just too unique to categorize.
That’s especially true for our first spotlight, the multi-talented artist: Sarah Kelly! Sarah is a graphic designer and illustrator for Greater Than Games. You’ve all seen her work before with the internal layout of Tak, but her first big solo job was all the art for Medium. That’s right, she does it all. Her most recent big project involved the layout for Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, and she’s working on a couple of not-yet-announced products, as well! She’s been adding more and more projects as she grows and develops here at GTG.
What’s one of your favorite things about working in the graphic design department?
SK: Our team – and really everyone at GTG – is great to work with. Everyone respects one another. I usually work with Darrell, Rae, and Jenn most of the time. Everything’s super easygoing. Communication is great and everyone is fun! I get to design with a lot of different art styles, like how Tak and Medium are completely different.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
SK: Ironically I’ll come home and do more art, even though I’ve been doing work all day. But these are my projects. I’ve been doing yoga or biking somewhere to relax. During the spring and summer months, I’m pretty big into gardening. I love to come home and tend to my flowers. I could be out there staring at them all day. In general, just something to shift me towards coming home and focusing on my efforts there.
What’s one thing you wish people knew or understood about working in the graphic design department?
SK: One is that it’s a process, especially with graphic design. They’re two opposite sides of the spectrum. Graphic design is trying to communicate someone’s dream or idea. It’s really heavy on that communication and back-and-forth. It doesn’t always just happen immediately. Ideas change as you get further into the process. It takes time! With the art side of things, it still takes time but it’s like putting myself – my personality and passion – into my work. There’s still a theme and direction but I get to put more of myself into it.
What are some of your influences or places to gather inspiration?
SK: A quick go-to is Pinterest – it’s easy to look at a lot of different inspirations. Etsy is also a great place to fall down a rabbit hole. Go to the game stores and see what other people in the industry are doing. Something that’s both popular but with your style and twist into it. That’s kind of what we did with Medium. I wanted to create something with a popular, almost trendy style but then adding neon ink to the box. You don’t see that in a lot of games, especially mainstream games. Also, it makes it something that people want to display.
What’s something you do too much of?
SK: I get too ‘in my head’ when I get wrapped up in a project. I need to step back and walk away because I overthink every little detail. I get really annoyed at myself because I’m trying to perfect it. My husband has to step in late at night and convince me to walk away. It all comes back to that process and how art is not perfect in every stroke. A lot of the process is getting it started and figuring out how to plan where you want those first strokes. But it gets easier after you get going. You go through so many drafts that after a while you think, “Can I even draw anymore?”
How do you know when a piece is done?
SK: That depends on what it’s for and the style of art, and obviously if it’s for any kind of client it depends on that communication. Otherwise, I’m mostly trying to figure out the places that look empty or blank. I try to get different opinions from friends and family as a piece develops to see their reaction and if they’re getting it. Once it’s finished I kind of just know, but of course, there’s always improvement that can be made especially when realism is involved. I could continue forever getting every tiny little thing right. There is a point where I have to tell myself, “I need to stop.”
What’s your current song on repeat? Is it different from your usual music?
SK: Yes and no because I get into different moods with music. A lot of times my music preferences are all over the place. I want to listen to what goes with the theme of what I’m doing or working on. For Medium, I was listening to Hungarian and Mediterranean music. What’s been in my head lately has been the Reading Rainbow theme. It’s not something I’m turning on regularly, but that’s been in my head.
Typically in the car, I’m listening to classical music. I’m old school and listen to the radio. Really helps when I’m driving through traffic and I have a chill, classical, calming environment. But I also love 80s music and jazz is probably my favorite.
Is there anything you wish would be back on trend?
SK: I love fashion so there’s a million little things I wish would come back. My biggest thing I don’t get right now is Gen-Z talking about millennials parting their hair to the side instead of down the middle. It just looks like it’s so much fuller and has more volume off to the side! I don’t get that one.