Continued from Part 1.
Around 1992, I was helping Ged Haney, my former business partner finish off his film The Kings of Siam. We were at the artwork stage and I was in charge of mixing all the inks and supervising a team of painters to colour in Ged’s drawings. His was a very neat style, I was getting bored doing it and dying for the film to be finished, we had been working on it seven years! Around the same time our producer Lee Stork had given us a big pile of old unused sketch books from the 1950’s, they were very dusty and yellow with old fashioned covers. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them.
Very First page from my Favorite Sketch Book
Emma Calder’s Favorite Sketch Book
Emma Calder’s Favorite Sketch Book
One evening when all our staff had gone home, I was alone sorting out inks and work for the next day, when I suddenly had an idea. Opening one of the little watercolour pads I started cleaning the dirty paint brushes out on the pages, I continued until I had filled the whole book. Then I took a pencil and turned the blobs into characters and there in front of me was a brand new style. Over the next few weeks I continued with the blobs added splashes and dribbles but, I had no idea where it was going, I was also working on ideas for a film about infidelity and loving two men and then an opportunity to use both turned up.
Favourite Sketch Books, given by Lee Stork
Watercolour of Emma by Emma in 1992
To be continued…
Eighteen years ago. I was in Labour with my daughter Coco. It lasted around twenty four hours and ended with a hospital caesarean, under general anaesthetic. The birth had been planned at home and to take my mind off things, I continued doing design roughs for my film The Queen’s Monastery, which was contracted to begin that very day.
Here are two of my labour drawings. Very wobbly and completely off character as you can see.
Watercolour drawn whilst in labour
Watercolour drawn whilst in labour
The Queen’s Monastery was a dream project a once in a life time opportunity and everything about it fitted neatly into place.
But it’s a long story, which I will continue in my next blog.
For those of you eager to have a look at my Boudica film. I have cut a trailer to give a taste of the animation and style. Any festivals wishing to show the film please contact me for a link to the complete film. Read the Press Release. Or download a printable version, with extra images of the Boudica_PressRelease
Or if you are in Norfolk, pop into Norwich Castle Museum and watch it in the Boudica Gallery.
I will keep everyone posted about screenings and previews.
Also I just heard that the film has been short-listed for consideration by the final jury for the category of Best Commissioned Animation at The British Animation Awards.
Boudica A Norfolk Story is finished. It should be installed in the Boudica Gallery in Norwich Castle Museum in the next couple of weeks.
Roman Soldiers march towards Mancetter and the probable site of the final battle
Here’s me on the last days shoot, animating the first scene of the film. I decided to do this outside shot last, just in case I accidentally knocked the camera over, or something!
Emma painting Boudica’s new face. Photo Oliver Cripps
Emma animating Boudica . Photo Oliver Cripps
In this first scene Boudica is dug up and put together then her face appears and she yawns.
As you can see from the scale Boudica is tiny, her little arms and legs made from gold twisted wire in the style of Iceni torcs. (Iceni is the name for Boudica’s tribe who lived in Norfolk 2000 years ago.)
The film is now on Vimeo but with a private link only, as I want to keep it back for film festivals, premières etc…
For those of you who can’t wait I will make a short trailer soonish. But meanwhile, time permitting I will do some short blogs about the making of the film.
I have nearly finished all the animation for my Boudica Film for Norwich Castle. It has been such good fun.
Hopefully in about one week I will be able to do the final edit and sound. Fingers crossed.
Boudica applies Woad
To go on with, is a still of Boudica putting on her woad before her final battle. Quite a fiddly job. Repainting her face which is only about 2 centimeters across, for each frame of animation. Although her face doesn’t move for all scenes luckily.
Boudica’s daughters bodies are made from broken iron age pottery from Norfolk.
I have just finished animating a scene with Nero for my Boudica Film and realised he actually looks like Boris Johnson.
Nero rips up Prasutagus will
I did the cut out animation in after effects for this scene but, I am doing the next scene proper cut out, although I can get both looking quite similar now. It just depends on my mood.
The fruits of my Norfolk holiday are paying off, had a good day doing the final backgrounds for my Boudica film.
This one is my favourite so far.
Boudica in her watercolour background
Julian Cripps did the pencil work and I did the water colour and characters.
The ducks are from some lovely 2000 year old Iceni Cups, on display in the Boudica Gallery.
It’s not much over I week since I returned from my hols and it has already been cold enough to light a fire.
Emma with her best paintbrush, photo by Oliver Cripps
One of Emma’s sky backgrounds, photo by Oliver Cripps
My Boudica film is going very well, although I have still quite a bit of animation to do.
I used the holiday in Boudica country to work on the backgrounds, even doing water colours whilst sailing on a boat on the Norfolk broads!
Emma painting in a rocky boat, photo by Oliver Cripps
I also spent time recording sound effects, getting up some days at 5 am to avoid tractors and Collar doves. The sound track is going to be made entirely of ambient and natural sounds because of the setting in the museum and the way the film will be viewed. So it’s quite a challenge to make an interesting track that helps the story along but, I like challenges and working with sound.
Is that a tractor? photo by Julian Cripps
Although I did do quite a bit of work whilst away it was great to get away for a week. I think I will need another holiday when this job is done, fat chance though.
After finishing the animatic I decided to set up the green screen for my Boudica film. This was ably done by my Director of photography Hugh Gordon and partner Julian Cripps.
Julian Cripps and Hugh Gordon set up the Boudica Green Screen
Unfortunately I lost one of my Boudica heads the first morning of the build, so that was distracting. After about fours hours of searching Julian found it.
Lost Boudica on bike saddle
I must have put it there whilst trying to unlock my other studio. Oh dear!!
The Green Screen was a success and I have now animated two scenes, the second with the aid of Dragon Frame which is a great bit of software for stop motion and video assist. Really useful to me as I have the camera up so high.
Here a still from Scene 3 of Boudica A Norfolk Story.
Scene 3 Boudica A Norfolk Story
I have just completed the storyboard and animatic for my Boudica Film for the Norwich Castle Museum. This took roughly a month to produce, for what will be a four and a half minute film. Last week was fun as I had my two favourite helpers working for me. Julian Cripps architectural designer who always helps me with background design and my daughter Coco Cripps who was officially on work placement at Pearly Oyster.
Julian Cripps working on Boudica Storyboard
Now I am moving on to the next stage of the film, which is to design and make the characters and design all the backgrounds. As some of the characters are made from very old things dug up. I have had a good excuse to go mudlarking on the Thames regularly.
Here is a photo a goose with a fantastic backdrop.
Goose at Vauxhall beach
What is interesting is what I am learning about some of the my mudlarking finds. After looking at iron age pottery in Norwich Castle Museum. I now realise that I had already found my own bit of iron age pottery by the Thames. I had thought it was a bit of petrified wood but, now I am quite sure it’s the same sort of material.
A picture of my finds, where’s Boudica?
Emma Calder’s Desk with Mudlarking bits