Friday 1 March 2013


I was just looking through some of my birthday card designs and I found this classic from my partner Julian's 48th birthday.

I had been sorting out my stamp and envelop collection and I spotted the Concorde stamps. It was a couple of years after Concorde stopped flying in May 2003, after 27 years of commercial flights. 

As Julian used to love looking up at Concorde each day when we first moved to Brixton, (we were in the flight path), I thought he would like the illustration.

The stamp I used was the 9d and was designed by David Gentleman. I found quite an interesting blog designKULTUR on this and other Concorde stamps.  

Wednesday 27 February 2013

My Type Face Annie Rexy

When I was a student at the London College of Printing, I started to design a typeface. It was called Annie Rexy. I wanted to make it all bent and crooked like thin, almost broken bones but, the tutor a famous typographer called Frederick Lambert (who's most popular font was probably Compacta), told me I had to design the straight version first. I was quite scared of Fred and he was such a pro, I did exactly as I was told.

Annie Rexy Straight Typeface by Emma Calder 

Each letter was drawn with a 2H pencil, was 4 inches high and drawn on tracing paper, with graph paper underneath, Fred did not allow me to use a compass or a ruler. I would show Fred a letter approximately once a month and he would tell me how to improve it. Sadly I never finished the typeface before finishing the course, although a couple of years ago, almost 30 years since the original design commenced in 1979,  I did do a bit more work on it. Fred had warned me that a decent typeface could take a life time. 

Recently I was asked by an architectural practice, if they could use the typeface for a job involving the names of some clients being carved into the edge of a wooden door. It was the extreme thinness that had attracted them. I will add a link to the door once it is finished.

As I had the work on the computer and it was my daughters birthday, I thought I would make her a card using the typeface. I was messing around trying out the original idea of the skinny, bent bone, lettering and I discovered a filter tool in Photoshop which I had never tried before. Here is the result. 
Birthday Card for Coco
I still need to finish the typeface though!

Thursday 13 September 2012

Back From the Woods

Random Person decided to come on holiday with us. Here she is in our 1963 Mark 2a Land Rover leaving London, with her strange little random friend, that I made some years ago from pipe cleaners.

We camped in a friends wood. Saw no one, went no where, most of the time. I decided to make a special holiday Random Person episode. I'd brought a few props and my camera.

I didn't really have a plan. No story board. All though these films are random. I normally do have a bit of a plan. At least a script. But it was my holiday, so what the hell. The woods were so inspiring. 

Random Person Resting between shots

My Partner Julian Cripps, the brilliant architect, was busy carving wooden spoons from bits of sycamore and when he wasn't looking,

 I borrowed one for random person to play with.

My son Oliver decided to make a couple of hand carved Harry Potter style brooms for Random Person. So she could do some cleaning when she gets home! But she didn't, as you can see when you watch the film.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Quantum Cloud

The latest live episode in my new viral series Random Person is Quantum Cloud. 

Please don't ask me what inspired it, because I can't remember exactly. I keep a book of random things that I come across and quickly storyboard out an idea. In this book is a note about Quantum Clouds and beside it a note about algebra. I know nothing about either, but deep down I probably just really wanted to make a hairy film as I had recently discovered my childhood locks in the tin, that I mentioned in my 1st blog about Random Person.

The circa 1960 tin that contained the random stuff that inspired Random Person

Plus I had just purchased some colourful hair switches from the Pimlico car boot. 

 Emma Calder animating Random Person

Or did I get them after I had the idea. Any how it doesn't really matter. Maybe it does matter that head lice have been the bane of my life ever since my kids started school. Or that when stressed, I pull my hair out.

nits from Quantum Cloud (hair courtesy of Julian Cripps)

My fine blond childhood hair, ran out as I animated, so I hunted down my partner Julian's old hair, from before he went grey. I found 4 massive balls of it, all mothy in a draw. It was fantastic to animate but, horrible because of all the insects living in it. If you look carefully at the animation you can actually see a moth flying out and lots of tiny moth eggs dropping out of the hair. The film might have been longer but, to be honest animating moth eaten old hair was not the greatest fun.

My daughter Coco Cripps now 16, composed a music track for the film in Garage band, without a keyboard whilst ill in bed with a cold. 

Please watch, like, share enjoy.

more coming soon.

Saturday 4 August 2012

BBC Persian Click

This is the second blog dedicated to my new viral animation series Random Person.

I have been busy all year making the episodes and have now completed eight, this is over half way towards the thirteen planned for the first series.

Of course, I am well behind schedule, as I am making these films whilst doing paid work to keep going. I am hoping sooner or later to get some investment but, at the moment I am just getting on with the creative part.

Random People take time out to appear in a sting for the BBC.

Still from BBC Persian Click

The most important part of the success of this series will be you, my audience and the more I can get my friends and followers to like, subscribe and share over the internet the better.

You can do this via, you tube or face book, or twitter. So please do spread the word and enjoy. All the buttons to press are on this page.

It is Random, but hopefully fun and I am certainly having fun making it. The whole series can be watched here.  

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Random Person the beginning

The first blog about my new animation series "Random Person".

It all started with this man lying unconscious outside the pub. I was with a woman a friend of a friend, in her boyfriends four wheel drive, waiting for a lift home. Finally the boyfriend got into the car and started to drive off, I said, “mind that man, don't run him over." I couldn't see him any longer, I was worried. Then the friend of a friends boyfriend said to me. “What man?” His girl friend replied with a yawn, “just a random person”.

From Emma Calder's note book 2012

I was quite shocked, so this poor unfortunate man was just a random what did that mean?

I thought, if he is random, or could be so described, what am I?

Then I started thinking about how my own life and activities were becoming more and more random.

Random person wears Moody Days Woman's dress, Sindy's lost arms and my partner Julian's Hair before it went grey

It just so happened, that I had done a completely random bit of animation one day last summer, whilst preparing tests for a different film. I had used a doll mask that I had just made and some bits and pieces, I had randomly found in an old tin, that I hadn't opened for over twenty years. The scene had little relevance to the film I was working on, I had just wanted to make the face and use it for something. Now that doll face had a role, it was to become my Random Person.

Taking my Random face from it's plaster caste

I put together the animation with a animated title, filmed from an old jigsaw I had bought in a jumble shop, The Title music was my speeded up and cut up version of a track from the Open Music Archive. I shamelessly hacked all the words out and didn't try to keep to the beat.

I wrote 52 different film ideas down in a day. Selected props, backgrounds and sound effects blind folded and then I started to make some very random films. The idea is that each film is completely random, was made randomly and is about the idea of random or randomosity.

To celebrate randomness I have randomly selected the third episode as the first to go live. (No Bag). In this film Random person goes shopping blind folded...It all goes well until.. 

Sunday 1 April 2012


I have just returned from Cairo, as a guest and jury member of The Children's International Film Festival. I took quite a few pictures, here are some of them.

Images of Graffiti around Tahrir Square

Whilst we were there, two demonstrations took place because of alleged current corruption in the parliament and liberal opposition to the Muslim brotherhood.

Some of the people I met, thought there would soon be another revolution. 

Many of the young helpers from the festival had been involved in the revolution last year. One of them a woman in her early twenties took me to Tahrir Square to show me all the graffiti, post revolution. Many taken in Mohammed Mahmoud Street. The site of many clashes between protesters and the police.

As we walked, we talked and she told me how she had been beaten up and sexually molested by soldiers at the demonstration, before she was rescued by some other demonstrators. If she hadn't managed to run away, she would have been imprisoned, like so many other people.

The art on the walls is amazing. Some depicts the martyrs who died in the Port Said football riots February 2012
(many in Egypt believe the the interim military government had something to do with their deaths). 

 The graffiti also depicts the bad guys, many with Hitler style moustaches. 

I hope things can work out for Egypt. So many lies, so much poverty. The rich and powerful people in Cairo, should be ashamed. 

But... many of the young people I met, hope for a brighter future, they just thought it would take a lot of time.