Happy Anniversary! Our First Year at Church Way.

A year ago on 18th January 2021 Sparky Ink Studio began a new chapter when we moved into Church Way, Chesterfield. We moved in on an icy winter’s day, during lockdown with only our immediate family and our two friends from our bubble and it was was super hard work.

We had spent all Christmas break and the beginning of the year packing boxes at our previous tenancy and lugging boxes and furniture down the steep stairs in the listed building that we had been the home of our Studio on Holywell Street in Chesterfield for the past 18months. Slipping and Sliding around carrying boxes to the van. The few onlookers probably got a few laughs. Below are some of the moving in and setting up photographs we managed to take on those first days in our new studio.

The moment we walked into Church way that day it was empty and I remember breathing in the cold air and standing looking out of the windows. I think I stood and gazed out of every single one of them. Each having its own story to tell of the shops or businesses and the few people venturing out. Our New neighbor, now the Crooked Spire, which we had only seen the tip of from our old address. Now we could see the clock and the West Facing stained glass window.

Sunrise New Years Day 2022.
Ginger & Jamie with our interior door sign January 2022.
New Moon 17th January 2022

Our first year has come to an end and we have spent all seasons in our new space watching our new friend the Old tree in the Spire Gardens go through the seasons with us. Heard the bells of the Church, seen weddings and funerals, deliveries and a lot of pigeons, seen life filter back from the heavy lockdown to now where everyone is enjoying the freedom we all took for granted before March 2020. Our little Studio has been a part of so many events without even having to lift a finger, as many happened in the square just below our window, seen marches and protests, evangelists and 1940’s singers. Had a Spitfire parked outside our front door and a huge statue created from armistice knives. We spent the hot summer with all the windows open and now the winter with heaters on and some windows still open. Our camera has caught the sun rise and the moon rise around the Spire. We feel the luckiest ever to be in the most inspiring and brilliant place for our Studio.

Our students have returned from the lockdowns and each one we are happy to say have settled in, we are pleased to say we have even welcomed some new students and participants too, which means such a lot to us and has given us the reward of knowing we are on the right track.

Sparky Ink Studio has always been about creating ‘a place for inkers and thinkers’ and the people we work with, many who are on the Autistic Spectrum, are comfortable and enjoying this new space. The studio has always had the ethos of Imagination, Communication and Confidence. Our mission is to support those who come along to the studio and help them realize and understand their creative potential inspiring imagination which can be communicated through digital story telling with the eventual confidence to share those stories with others.

2021 was an epic year for the studio, we have gone through a lockdown, followed the Covid procedures, welcomed our students back and started new workshops and welcomed new students and participants to our studio. We kickstarted our Events again and imagined the new events we can begin, celebrated our 5th Birthday, designed video games, trained in new software’s, filmed, photographed, video gamed, broadcasted and produced, created Art and made models. We welcomed two interns from University; Katie and Sherry and gained two Volunteer’s both named David and were supported by family and friends. Then we raised money for Charity and we had our first Christmas yay!

We work in a place which feels brilliantly creative, professional and fun. Having done the lockdowns, returns, mask wearing, distancing, hand gelling and the chaos of the world outside we have been able to chat about all these topics and built friendships. 2021 was also the year we became an officially registered Arts Award Centre and became Chesterfield Champions with Destination Chesterfield.

While we had a good year for the Studio we know it wasn’t brilliant for some of our friends and families. Losing loved ones, the frustration of living in a pandemic and trying to keep your head screwed in place while everything feels in turmoil.

Our heart goes out to everyone who has lost so much and gained little during 2021. You are remembered in our hearts and thoughts. R.I.P to friends of our Studio: Father to Leo – Arron Middleton & Comic-book Artist & Writer – Russell Wall. Both sadly passed away in January 2021

Before we sign off to start our New Year we would like to say a fantastic BIG THANK YOU to all those who have supported our Studio in the last year. From our Students, their families, the schools we work with, Friends of Sparky Ink, our landlord and the Church Way Community and everyone who watched our studio content or interacted with us. You know who you are.

‘Big Moving Day’ Poster to celebrate our move designed by Mitchell Ellis. 2021

SPRING 2021 Animation, Film, Tetley Tea Folk, Pigeons, Godzilla, Darth Vader, Retro Gaming and Model Building Projects. Just to mention a few…



We had a FUN filled Spring into the beginning of Summer in May and early June 2021 with lots of Projects started and finished. Below are images from several of our students and participants. We also ran our first GamesDev Portfolio sessions too.

These are some of our favorite images. Please enjoy!

In addition, we were so pleased that we could hold our First of 2021 8-Bit Evolved Gaming Nite and Morning, which was really great fun and a massive relief that everyone could get together again within the restrictions.

Fantastic Donations to our little Studio :-)

We are so chuffed at all the recent donations of items and support for our little studio that we just wanted to share the news with everyone. Some remarkable and generous souls have been doing a bit of a early spring clean and sorting out their homes and have kindly thought of our studio to donate to. We have also had some gifts of money which has helped to pay for some essential items, as well as help physical help moving studio and getting things fixed up.

It has been an epic journey and we wanted to do a BIG SHOUT OUT to say a MASSIVE THANX for thinking of our little Studio. Everything donated has been in excellent working condition.

Special Thanks to these STARs of the Show:

The Hannah Family for helping with packing, moving driving, unpacking, fixing stuff up and sourcing out bargains for stuff we really needed. Your support and help has been invaluable I can’t express how much this has meant to us and our little studio. Also for the excellent coffee maker and kettle … we needed this so much on the move! The sofas for our gaming room and the breakfast bar and cupboards. All AMAZING!

Ginger’s other half for putting up with Ginger being bossy and all your invaluable help with the packing and moving and unpacking.

The Hopkins Family – Special Thanks to Asa, Romy and Lois for donating a collection of comic books, a swivel chair and loads of Nintendo DS games and handhelds.

Artist John King for loads of retro tech and a massive dreamy executive desk and chair (for the office)

Kate and Dylan Kift for shelves and multicolored drawers. Invaluable so much stuff to store and to still be accessible for students.

Anonymous Cash Donations – You know who you are.

Here are some of the items:

Our magnificent Breakfast Bar and one of the Sofa’s. This is our Chill Zone and looks a little different to this now.

Student Studio Showcasing #Thr33

#Three … is one of the many fantastic collaborations with Jack and James aka Jamwinga. Jack charted loads on many of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. Give him a plastic guitar and he oozes talent. This is a really fun video with these guys. Made when we back in the Old Headmasters Office at West Studios in 2018.

Student Studio Showcasing #Two

Carrying on our Showcasing here is one of our Favs …


“Metal Slug 5 – Speeder” charted and performed on Clone Hero by Jack Holleworth.

When it comes to finding a great gaming tune from one of his favourite games and then making a chart on Clone Hero; Jack is pretty good at this, even though he might say he isn’t. This particular chart has had a lot of interest on Youtube from other Clone Hero fans, who have requested the chart and asked for it to be charted for Drums, Bass and Rhythm Guitar.

A snappy tune. Great Chart. Check it out LOUD!! And Enjoy!

Student Studio Showcasing #One

We thought a it would be a fab idea to showcase some of our Students work from over the years that our Studio has been established.

So here we go … #One

‘ … oops misheard!’ – Created by Daniel L. 2019

This is a very, very funny little claymation video which Daniel created as part of his work experience project from Ashgate School in Chesterfield.

“When asked to fetch something Bunny gets it wrong”.

Brilliantly fun models capture the comedy and brightness of this claymation. Daniel made the models by hand from Clay and Wire. He wrote the script, animated the characters and did all his own voice over. We love this video. Check it out below …

‘ … oops misheard’ by Daniel L

New Studio Announcement!

For all those who have not received the e-postcard sent out earlier. We are absolutely delighted to announce that today we have officially moved to our New Studio our new address is: 2nd Floor, 8 Church Way, Chesterfield, S40 1XJ.

We have tried to keep the location under wraps for a while although some of you guys sussed it out.

Our New Studio is amazing. Over the next week or so I will be adding some photos to our social network. We are so hoping that we will be open again soon once Covid restrictions are lowered.

In the meantime guys #staysafe #weshyerhands #keep your distance

copyright of the e-postcard https://www.francisfrith.com/

LOADING… SCREEN Newsletter – September 2020

Phew! September already! What an amazing couple of months since we returned after Lockdown to the Studio. It has been a fun time getting back into things and we have welcomed back a huge portion of our students.

Many of our students have managed to finish off a few older projects and others have begun a few new ones. All are getting back into telling and creating new stories. Check out some of the newest videos below.

From the Principles of Animations by young animator Oscar…

… to Crazy Editing of ‘Lockdown Experiences’ by Hamish

and Kristian’s Regular VLOG

… to lots of Broadcasting and Production, 3D Digital Modelling Creation, Games Design and Development, Filming for mini films and Animation to Concept and Digital Poster Art from all our other students. It has been a busy few months! Check out the gallery below…

COVID-19 Situation…

On a super serious note the UK Government has updated their guidelines recently and our Studio has been keeping up to date with the ongoing Covid-19 situation and constantly monitoring our policy and procedures, increasing certain aspects of our procedures to ensure the safety of our students and team. You can check out our latest procedures here. https://sparkyink.co.uk/covid-19

NEW Workshops

We have recently started up a NEW workshop aimed at young people aged 14 to 17 years who are looking to create a portfolio in Games Design and Development. This will be the whole package. From idea, creative script writing, to concept art and environments and 3D Modelling to animation. Using coding and game building in the GameMaker Studio 2 engine, to editing, sound FX and publishing. As well as exciting extras. Students may start at different areas of the GDD process. The idea is to have a portfolio of documented work and a few demo games. This portfolio can be used for further education applications or to look back on as a guide to work from at home. We will encourage a digital portfolio with a mini website which can be monitored from the studio.

The places are limited for this workshop. However, we will be making a waiting list with a view to running more sessions in the future or during holidays or online.

It is hoped that in the near future we will be able to offer the Arts Award qualification for this workshop.

Interested? Please check out the link here. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/121869580195

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Gaming Events

As promised we are experimenting with our Gaming Events to try and get the guys back together on a regular basis. We are still struggling at the moment for our Mini-Gamers. However we are looking at offering some FREE online sessions via Discord for these guys to get together. Should be load of fun and those who can game with us can and those who cannot – well they have voices they can encourage their chums. Our 16+ gaming nite will begin up again (all being well in October) Our 16+ group is much smaller so this can be managed well in the studio. We have now published the events on our Event Bright Page. Please check these out.

16+ details – in our Events https://www.facebook.com/sparkyinkstudio

Mini-Gamers – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/covid-get-lost-mini-gamers-autism-friendly-saturday-gaming-morning-tickets-121861949371

DATES for Your Diary


Monday 21st September – 4.30 to 6pm – That Portfolio Monday Thingy – PRE BOOKING REQUIRED. And then every First and Third Monday each month.

Monday 28th September to Friday 2nd October 2020 – STUDIO ANNUAL CLOSE DOWN


Saturday 10th October 2020 – That Saturday Animation Morning Thingy – PRE BOOKING REQUIRED as limited places.

Saturday 10th October 2020 – That Saturday Morning Gamesdev Thing (games design and development) – Check out Events on our page on Facebook. PRE BOOKING REQUIRED as limited places.

Thursday 29th October 2020 – 4.30 to 7pm – 8 Bit Evolved Gaming Nite 16+. PRE BOOKING REQUIRED. Check out the events on Facebook.

Saturday 31st October 2020 – Covid Get lost Mini-gamers ONLINE Gaming Morning – Please Email ginger@sparkyink.co.uk for code (open only to children who have been to the group before.)

Our Summer 2019 Student DEBP Project

During last summer’s mini heatwave. Our Studio worked with five talented students from various schools in the local area, to create a promotional video with music and clay-mation for the Derbyshire Education & Business Partnership (DEBP).

The project had it’s challenges from clay melting, students melting, software crashing and equipment not compiling. The project ran for one morning a week for 8 weeks so was very demanding on scheduling production and filming. However, we all had great fun working together on the project and there is a great result of the video which is now on the DEBP’s new website .

Post-production was the more difficult part with availability of students to return to complete various pieces, voice overs and extra artwork. We did however manage to get a game in the video, which one of the Students – Dylan, had been working on as an extra piece.

All in all we are all very pleased with the result. You can check it out now on our YouTube channel


The members of the team who worked on this are:

Clay models & Animator – Daniel Laughton

Camera Operator – Nathan Pidd

End Credits Music & Ideas – Logan Pinder

Co-Director & Concept Art – Logan Tattersall

Game Design & Development – Dylan Kift

Voice Overs: Laura Wilkins & David Shephard

Production Support: Josh Wright & Carl Laughton

Project Coordinator & Post Production: Jm Wright

Special THANKS to these artists for sharing their music

for FREE via Youtube library:

‘Moving On’ – Wayne Jones (2019)

‘Morning Mandolin’ – Chris Haugen (2019)

‘Summer Shower’ – Quincas Moreira (2019)

SFX & SVFX sourced from:



Special THANKS to:

Ashgate Croft School, Stubbin Wood School &

Swanwick School & Sports College

A BIG BIG THANK YOU to MD – Clare Talati and

Communications Coordinator – Rebecca Kuchta at DEBP for making this happen. You can checkout their website at:


Loading Screen: July 2020 Newsletter

Phew! Our first month after lockdown is nearly over and it has been quite an experience. Firstly Thank you’ to everyone who has supported our Studio over the last month. We are so glad to be back and very happy that the changes we have made to help keep our studio #Safe are proving effective and are being observed by all our students.

So far so good…

Many of our students have returned to the Studio and it has been an engaging month with everyone excited to get back into things, start some new projects and enjoy some social distanced gaming too.
All the stickers and hazard tape are still stuck down on the carpets and we still have plenty of soap and toilet rolls! yippee!
We are actually finding the layout much better and splitting our animation area and gaming/production area has proved to be a success.

What’s new?

During lockdown we were given some cash to purchase some new equipment and so far we have managed to buy some pretty cool camera gear including a monitor and a shoulder rig.
We are also in the process of purchasing a new Gaming PC, (we usually buy secondhand and two of our PCs have just about given up) a Playstation 4 and VR set. These are going to be so much fun.
More on this next time.


Rebooting the studio has seen a staggered return of many of our regulars all with lots of stories to share. Rebooting anything can take a bit of time so we are not completely there just yet ,as not everyone has managed to return and we have not been able to run some sessions yet nethertheless we are working on it. We’re pacing ourselves, to ensure all our guys have a fab experience as they return.
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Lockdown has filled the team’s head with loads of great ideas and we will be sharing the new things we are hoping to start up in the near future. One of the things we are considering is to start up a few New Animation workshops aimed at those who prefer early evening or workshops especially for families. If you would like to know more about these please contact ginger@sparkyink.co.uk.
We hope to reboot: ‘That Saturday Morning Games Design and Development/Animation Thingy’ . The sessions will be a little different, as we are unable to take as many learners in as we did before due to covid-19. We will be creating additional session/s in the afternoon. Please check our Facebook page for more info. We will be giving first refusals to learners who have projects already underway.

Gaming Events

Controllers at the ready – ‘Thumb Defining’ configurations are being planned for the very near future. We know it has been a long stretch for our regular 8-bit evolved gamers. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting nearer.
We have had so many enquiries about when our gaming sessions will start up again. so we are currently discussing the best way to do this. We will try to update this very soon as we would love to run an event in August.
More excitement for Thumbs is that we are hoping to set up some new sessions for different groups. From Tournament style to Ladies only. Retro to Vintage gaming group. Yeah… You heard it first here!
Interested – why would you not be? Email us at 8bitevolvedgaming@gmail.com to register your Thumbs!

Other Stuff

Dates for your Diary (all being well):

From August/September on wards: Return of: ‘That Saturday Morning Games Design and Development/Animation Thingy’
Monday 31st August 2020: Return of: ‘The Bank Holiday’… Studio will remain open on this day.
Monday 28th September 2020: Studio Annual Shutdown for 1 week. We Return on Monday 6th October 2020

Please remember that if you, or someone in your family home or someone you have been with recently has symptoms of Covid-19 you will need to isolate as outlined by the Government and NHS.UK. If in doubt check with the NHS to find out what you need to do: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ about a Covid-19 test.
Check out the latest Covid-19 updates here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

#Staysafe #Weshyourhands

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