Dream Job: Emma SanCartier

Friends, I am super excited to share with you todays Dream Job. I’d like to introduce one of my favorite creative professional ladies, Emma SanCartier. You may have read about her in my whimsical illustrators post a while back. Well a few weeks ago I reached out to her and asked her if she would share her secrets to success and she gracefully agreed! This girl is super busy, so I am so grateful she was able to participate. Without further ado, here’s the talented Emma. emma

Can you tell us about yourself and what you do for a living? Do you have a day job vs side projects?

Right now I’m lucky enough to work for myself and make art full time. I do freelance work for businesses and personal art commissions. I also sell my work online and travel around the country to do different types of shows where I sell artwork and sculptures. book

I can see that you’re multi talented with illustrations, books, and sculpts. What’s your background in? Did you get a degree or are you a self taught creative?

I  have a degree in illustration from OCAD in Toronto. My main artistic interest has always been in book illustration, although I’ve been interested in all facets of making things for as long as I can remember. From jewelry and sculpture to giant welding projects way back in high school, I’ve always loved experimenting with different mediums.

Where did you come up with the name Odd Fauna and what got you started in sculpting?

I’ve always been into sculpture even though I never studied it in school. I would often build little maquettes and creature sculptures for fun before selling them became a thing for me. The name OddFauna came to me when I started making tiny one of a kind creature sculptures to sell with my prints at shows. Animals and strange creatures have always been a recurring theme in my illustration work, and over the years I’ve built upon the name in creating lots of different characters that fit into the OddFauna world.


In a nutshell, how are your sculpts made? How many of each new color do you typically run?

I make the original sculptures out of either Super Sculpey or Magic Sculpt. Then I create a silicon mold so that I’m able to cast multiples. I cast the smaller sculptures in tufstone gypsum. I have the larger ones cast in resin, which I have a friend in Oakland cast for me. As far as colors go, it depends. With the larger ones I like to do limited runs, generally anywhere from 5 to 25. I’ve done as many as 50 in one run, but found that painting the same color combination over and over got a little boring for me, so I like to keep the numbers small. The little sculptures are generally open edition, I like to sit down and just paint whichever color combination I feel like to keep things interesting, although the colors often coincide with the seasons.


Where do you find inspiration for new characters?

I’m a bit of a nature documentary nerd, I find so much inspiration in the creatures that exist in our world. If I’m ever stuck on what to draw I’ll flip through a book, watch a documentary, or get out to a museum or aquarium. I’ll also often find inspiration in random things around me. My dog, for instance, has inspired some elements in my characters. He’s got a lot of personality and can be a complete weirdo.


Do you have any advice for people really interested in making mass produced sculpts like yours (i.e not one offs)? Imagine they never picked up clay before ever. What would you tell them to do first?

My advice would be to play around as much as possible, there are so many different sculpting materials out there, find the medium that feels right to you, and then have fun! Sculpt as much as possible, like anything, it take loads of practice. Your first piece will probably be terrible, that’s okay! Keep creating and eventually you’ll make something amazing that you’ll want to make multiples of. There are tons of videos and information about casting online. I was lucky to have a friend show me the basics of mold making several years ago, but the rest I learned on my own by watching lots of tutorials (and going through a lot of trial and error)

Aside from being incredibly talented, what do you think has made you successful as an illustrator and sculptor?

Well thank you! That’s a tough one. I’ve always tried to stay true to my own voice. I draw and paint themes that interest me and that I get excited about rather than worry too much about trends or what people want. I think that it resonates with people when they see you making something that you truly enjoy creating. turnipheads

Do you have any more advice for young creatives just starting out that want to be their own business owners?

I think it’s important to have a unique voice, your work needs to be your own. You also need to really love what you do and be passionate about your art. You need to love creating things so much that you can’t imagine doing anything else, and you need to have fun doing it, because you’ll be spending most of your waking hours devoting time to your business.

I want to thanks Emma so much for giving a peek into her process and her success. I think it’s important to seek out people who inspire you and always ask them questions. 

All photos are taken from Emma’s website or her instagram and belong to emma. 

If you’re interested in nabbing one of your own little beasts, or maybe an illustrative print, check out Emma’s shop. You can follow her on instagram or twitter and be sure to like her Facebook page!

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