Interview with Emma SanCartier3 min read

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This month’s Apex Magazine features cover art from artist Emma SanCartier. SanCartier has worked on a diverse range of illustration and design projects, including children’s books, poster and product design, and illustrations for magazines. Over the past several years, she has been developing a line of designer toys and sculptures based off of her illustrated OddFauna creatures.

APEX MAGAZINE: Your beautiful art for this month’s Apex cover, “the 3 Norns,” and many of your other works, are based on Norse mythology. What is it that fascinates you about mythology, and do you have specific ideas in mind when incorporating mythology into your art?

EMMA SANCARTIER: I’ve loved mythology from all different cultures for as long as I can remember, but there’s just something about Norse mythology in particular that stands out to me. There are so many stories and characters invoking such rich imagery that have inspired many of my paintings.

AM: Your website news section features a sculpture of yours, “Logur,” that infuses some of your watercolor painting ideas. What are the challenges with trying to use techniques and ideas from one media into another? How does working with sculpture affect your painting in general, and vice versa?

ES: Making my creature illustrations into little 3 dimensional objects just seemed like a natural progression for them, bringing them to life in a whole new way. My illustration work is quite flat and graphic, so the main challenges that I’ve had has been in keeping the same qualities of the characters when translating them to sculpture.

AM: In your news section, you mention traveling to various cities for conventions and worldwide to places like Mongolia. What kind of inspiration do you find in your convention trips and in your longer trip to Mongolia? Do you incorporate the things you see in your travels into your art consciously or subconsciously?

ES: Doing trips around the country for shows and conventions has been wonderful. To be able to go and meet the people who follow and buy my creations in person is really special. I love seeing their reactions to my work in person, it helps me understand which pieces resonate with people, which can inspire the direction new artwork takes. It’s also been really inspiring to meet so many other artists and writers at these shows.

My trip to Mongolia was inspiring in a different way. It’s a place that I’ve been interested in for a while, the nomadic lifestyle, the love and respect for nature, and the culture and customs. I filled a sketchbook and journal while travelling around the countryside that I’m sure will inspire some new work in the future. Just in travelling somewhere completely different from anything I had experienced before was an incredible way to recharge myself creatively.

AM: The OddFauna pieces that you create are very unique and interesting beasts. Do those originate from other mythological beasts and turn into something different, or do they have their own unique start?

ES: The OddFauna world that I’ve been creating is really a mixture of all the things that I love. I’ll find inspiration in mythological creatures and plants and animals found in nature and try to come up with something that is unique in itself. I love creating a mix of sweet and dark images by giving the creatures different personalities and creating little stories.

AM: Your illustrations appear in a children’s book with Tamara James, The World is Your Oyster, and you also have a book featuring your OddFauna creatures. What differences are there between creating books and illustrations for yourself versus working with someone else on a project?

ES: It’s definitely a much different process working with an author and a publisher versus your own project. I loved working on The World is Your Oyster, but there definitely ends up being a lot of back and forth since you have multiple people to please. I wanted to be respectful of what Tamara wanted out of the illustrations without losing my own voice, and then also had to make sure that the editor and publisher were happy with everything. I was really happy with the final outcome, but it definitely helped that I was working with good people. With my own projects I have complete creative control which is great, but it’s also far more work since I end up taking on all of the roles.

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