Thursday, 25 May 2023


Another month of fairly s l o w blogging- started this one a few weeks back, but things are pretty hectic in Flora-land at the moment, so please bear with me! Hopefully normal service will resume in the not too distant future. So as I alluded to in a few of my recent posts, you may have picked up on the fact that I moved cities! I now live in Sheffield (from having lived in Preston since 2010). Still ‘up north’, but now on the other side of the Pennines (and slightly more south- so maybe a little bit warmer)?! Guess time will tell…

So why the move? Basically, both myself and my partner wanted a change. I moved to Preston over a decade ago now and had never intended for it to be a place I settle (I also have no plans for how long I might stay in Sheffield either- it might be somewhere we decide it’s not for us after a few years or who knows, it could be somewhere we decide to stay permanently). The move was prompted by our yearning to live somewhere bigger with more going on, plus a change of scenery and new places to travel to on the weekends. We still wanted to live in the north, so Sheffield kind of ticked most of the boxes (affordable, not in the north west, more music/ art/ culture, better film/ animation scene, good skate scene, an independent cinema and so on). Though like Preston, it sadly doesn’t have a county cricket ground (this was also on the ‘where to move to’ criteria)!

I have also had my fair share of bad memories/ experiences related to Preston (and it’s a place where my mental health was at it’s worst), so living there and ‘reliving’ those times if you like haven’t really made the last few years all that enjoyable. Especially when Preston is so small, therefore making some places (and the memories/ unhealthy nostalgia attached to them) hard to avoid. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve had some brilliant experiences too and met some great people, but for me it always feels overshadowed by the negative experiences, so I thought a move would do wonders in improving the whole mental health side of things. It’s still early days so unable to comment on this. I’ve actually been ready to move from Preston since around 2015/16, but not really had the opportunity until recently. Better late than never, right?!

I thought I’d have more of an emotional reaction to moving, but I wasn’t emotional at all- and since moving I’ve not missed Preston one bit, despite the settling in period here is taking longer than I would have liked/ hoped. It’s finding new routines, new ways of doing things- for example, the city centre is approximately 3 miles away. So without being able to drive, I must admit I’m finding the lack of easy access quite difficult, so I need to come up with some ways of getting about independently, safely and conveniently. I am also struggling with the location of the house- it’s surrounded by extremely busy, long, dusty main roads, meaning any walking I do setting off from the house is far from pleasant or relaxing. Which is quite frustrating as I love my walking and fresh air! I feel once the house is in a more live-able and comfortable state, I can start building routines etc again, but feels hard to do right now when so much time and attention is used up trying to (cue cheesy phrase) make our house a home.

My room is pretty much done now (at last), but who knew furniture shopping is so hard?!?! Especially when the room has sloping floors! It’s taken several weeks to decide what pieces of furniture might actually fit well in my room (after a bit of trial and error), but I like to think I’m near enough there now. At one point it just felt like nothing I was buying was fitting or suiting the space and it felt a bit like an impossible jigsaw. But I made a few switches in position of some things and then it kind of then clicked. Perhaps I’ll put some pictures up on here- maybe! Though first, I need to embark on the mammoth task of making some blinds. My room is south facing so it gets hot hot hot! Of course there will be a post on that once they’re done! Though I’m procrastinating starting them as it’s a big daunting task. Oh and the fact that I don’t yet own a sewing machine!!

It feels great having moved, but because there’s been so much to do on the house, we’ve barely had the time or headspace to properly get exploring or attend any events etc until recently. As it’s honestly been hard to focus on anything else. So right now, it feels like there’s a lot of potential to be had from Sheffield, but not really had the time to sink our teeth into it thus far. Perhaps I’ll do a follow up post in a month or so on how I’m feeling about the move… Right, I’ve rambled enough and I've got these blinds to make, so see you in the next one! xo

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

35mm Photos May 2023

On a bit of a roll with these 35mm photos at the moment- well I'm at least taking a lot! Slowly learning more and more about my camera and what type of photos work best with it. Most of this roll was actually football stuff- some of which I'm really pleased with.

I got these photos developed and scanned at a lovely independent shop called Harrison Cameras here in Sheffield- my new home city!! There will be a post on moving at some point- maybe once I've sorted my room a little more and had the time to really take it all in. I'm still not sure if it's quite sunk in yet!

Anyway, for now here are some of the photos:

Sunday, 23 April 2023

35mm Photos

Oh hey! It's been almost a month since posting on here- my bad! I've been super busy though (preparing to move house/ cities- more on that in another post, skateboarding, football etc) and had little time to actually have something to blog about! Or at least little time to sit and write something. But, I have been out using my film camera a fair amount- usually find it easier/ more convenient to do so when spring/ summer rolls around. I already have another one finished to develop as well. So keep your eyes out for that!

Anyway, below are a few from this roll- it spans from around Christmas time until early April. I'm still in the figuring out process with the camera of what style/ genre of photos work well with it, so in this are a mix of things. I love using it for close ups, as being a 50mm lens with an f stop of 1.8 it creates a lovely depth of field. But I feel some of the more street/ architectural shots look quite decent as well. I would also love to try out some different film with it at some point- currently using Kodak Colour Plus as that's the cheapest- the prices are absolutely crazy with it now!! But for a treat, I might get a roll of something better quality to see how (or if) the images will improve or change.

Though for now, here are some of my faves from this roll:

Thursday, 30 March 2023

Moth Film Update #3

I bet you thought I had forgot about this project?! That’s totally understandable as it’s been pretty much two months to the day since a moth update (or mothdate)? In my last post on this, I was at 626 moths drawn and in this one, guess what?!? I’ve finished!! All 1000 of them- I decided to go for 1000 instead of 1080 as it felt more complete to me, plus I didn’t really see what 80 extra moths could add to the film. If I decide later on that I do actually need a further 80, I will of course go ahead and draw them, but for now, I feel it’s surplus.

Like most animation projects, it took me a little longer to get to this state- I had hoped to have them finished by the end of February, but I decided to not stress it (what’s the rush?) and do them when I could, rather than forcing myself if tired or busy with other things (which I have been a lot lately). I’m such a sucker for all these arbitrary deadlines I set for myself, which in reality don’t mean a thing. Yes it’s nice to keep myself on track and not linger for too long on a project, but sometimes I can be too strict to my detriment. Unless there’s a pressing deadline from an exterior source, I’ve really been trying to be kinder on myself with my projects/ deadlines. And I must say- it’s a LOT nicer!! In fact, just reading through my last post on this, I pretty much wrote a similar thing about arbitrary deadlines! So I guess it must really be really deep seated within me…

I put all the finished moths in the timeline in DaVinci Resolve to see how they looked as one- and to be honest I was a little disappointed, at least at first. I thought it was such a cool achievement to have completed 1000 moth drawings and couldn’t wait to see how they looked altogether and animated, but for some reason watching it back, it fell a little flat. Maybe this was because there was a plain white background and no audio, or maybe it just didn’t look that good! Or maybe I have too high standards for myself and was expecting something I couldn’t match. I also felt when watching it back, it actually has no meaning/ emotion- perhaps this is why it fell flat. I got excited to make the project as I thought it would look really cool, but I guess that’s not reason enough to make art? Who knows…

There must have been a drive or a meaning when I started it or I wouldn’t have taken on such an amount of work, but when watching it back just now, it didn’t actually mean a thing to me. I had no idea what it was about or what it was saying- to be honest it didn’t say a lot. I think I need to go back to the drawing board to be able to finish it and make it mean something. I feel a meaning or a direction will guide me into finishing it.

To try and claw back any sense of achievement or happiness with it, I put some inked 16mm film behind it and yes, that made it look ‘nicer’/ more aesthetic- at least for my social media and to be honest, I was slightly more pleased with it as it did look ‘better’. But regardless, I definitely need to push it further. I do have some ideas for meaning, but we’ll have to wait and see…

Here’s an extract of how it currently looks:

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Non League Day 2023

So the Saturday just gone (25th March) was non league day over here in the UK. This usually takes place annually in one of the men's footballing international breaks. It's to encourage people to head to non league games in place of their usual Premier League/ Championship matches for that weekend. Some clubs even do special promotions to encourage more people down to capture a taste of non league. This weekend was also women's football weekend- with a whole host of fixtures taking place across the two days, with many top tier teams using the main stadiums, too. The match I was heading to was unfortunately postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, so sadly didn't make a women's game this weekend- we were already in the location by the time we found out about the postponement and there wasn't any feasible options nearby either.

Personally, I rarely head to anything league, so pretty much every footballing day is non league day for me and this week was no exception! The weather wasn't the best in the lead-up to the weekend (evidenced above), but was really hoping to head somewhere super photogenic. The weather in North Wales seemed to be a lot more promising and after frantically scrolling down the Cymru Football app, I found that CPD Gronant (situated on the outskirts of Prestatyn) were at home. I had identified this ground last summer as one I wanted to photograph and this felt like the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Gronant Playing Fields played host to this North East Wales Football League cup semi final tie against Overton Recreation (the home side winning 4-3). And the ground was more spectacular than I thought it was going to be: it had everything! Sea views, hills, fields and even a skatepark! I honestly couldn't have asked for much more from this ground. I'll let the photos finish off this post and you can view the full set here.

Saturday, 25 March 2023

Another Cross Stitch!

I must have started this one a year or two ago, as I found it in my box of (mostly) finished projects when I was looking through it several weeks back. I had only stitched the 'F' (my initial, obv!) and a few of the yellow squares on the left, so there was plenty to go at.

I hadn't yet decided after the last one what I was going to make next, so decided to finish this before embarking on anything fresh. I don't like having half completed projects, plus think it's better discipline to finish what you start unless of course, you have a really valid reason to not. In this case I didn't, so decided to go ahead with it.

As I started it a while ago, I couldn't remember which DMC yellow I used to create the squares on the left (and nothing in my thread box seemed to match up), so decided to use this to my advantage and be a little less 'safe' with the design and use multi colours instead. So I kind of did a fade from yellow to pink, to orange and then to purple, creating an anti-clockwise gradient around the letter. I like that I tried something different here, but feel I would have preferred to keep the yellow all the way around, as it's a colour which really stands out (and is my favourite). I felt the orange and the purple (especially) are a little too dark/ gloomy, and this was exaggerated by the fact that there is some bright yellow on the same piece. But like I always harp on about on here- if you don't push what you're comfortable with, then you won't progress and just stay the same. I'm pleased I tried it, but in this case, I'm not sure if it worked all that well. I'm a sucker for bright colours and sadly, this didn't quite do it for me.

I am pleased to have completed it though- it was a LOT of stitches! And despite my personal opinion on some of the colour choices, I do think it looks quite cool (probably the wrong word as is cross stitch ever regarded as cool?!) overall and I am quite proud of it. I definitely want to do more using letters, as I feel this is quite effective. Perhaps I'll inadvertently end up doing a full alphabet as have the tendency to get carried away/ enthused! I actually did a cross stitch 'R' three years ago. So I guess now I have two letters down already, only 24 to go then!

Friday, 17 March 2023

'Bear' BTS #3

Third in my ‘behind the scenes’ series of my short film, ‘Bear’ is this clip:

Click here to see the previous ones.

This one illustrates the colouring process. After completing all the outlines in Callipeg, I exported them into TVPaint via JSON files and used the CTG layers to block colour the character and main props. I then used a textured brush for the bear head as I wanted to give it a feel of fur and have it separate from how the character was coloured. I textured this frame by frame using clipping masks, again to give the feel of the head more texture and a feel of movement (like how fur might move). At the end of the clip, you can see this shot in sequence with a few others from the scene.

I originally wanted to add some shadows/ highlight shading using EbSynth, but as I was doing this project solo and given myself a limited time to do it in (until I needed to get a new job basically!), plus it being 11 minutes in length, I decided against it or who knows, I might still be working on it! Next time though...

Saturday, 11 March 2023

'Bear' BTS #2

Second in my ‘behind the scenes’ series of my short film, ‘Bear’ is this clip:

Click here to view the previous one.

This is more of a process video- something I've rarely shared before of my work, mainly due to seldom filming timelapses when I animate. I usually find it quite off putting to know that every little move is being recorded! Though when making this short, I purposefully decided to capture as much bts footage as possible (besides the live action shoot, down to budget or lack thereof) of all the different post production processes involved. This is because I knew I wanted to have some documentation of creating the project, as it's my most ambitious to date.

This clip is split into three parts: first is a timelapse of how I created one of the backgrounds in TVPaint from a reference photo I took; second is a timelapse extract of rotoscoping the outlines- these were all done on my iPad using Callipeg. To make it as smooth as possible and to make sure I don't forget any lines or miss them out, I take one line and draw it until the end of the shot. I then choose another line and repeat the process until all lines are complete! It's kind of more monotonous this way, but therapeutic all the same! You can also see in this clip that the filming location is the same as the previous bts clip- the beauty of rotoscoping, especially on a tight budget. You do not need to shoot in a fancy/ expensive studio or against a green screen either- I guess it helps a little as it makes the character easier to see as the background is so contrasting, but it’s not necessary. This is proof! And lastly, is the finished shot.

Credits for this clip: Peter Stone is Bear and Alan Livesey on camera for the live action shoot.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Another Clip From 'Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood'

I've published another shot which I animated on the feature film 'Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood' (dir. Richard Linklater) over on my Instagram. Before working on this film, I hadn't animated much water before, but I ended up getting assigned several water shots, so I had to seriously up my game as water is a notoriously hard thing to animate! Yes, they were indeed challenging and really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I persisted and came away with some shots I was really proud of. I especially liked the design of this shot, which was done by George Hampshire.

I've not actually rotoscoped anything since December (feels longer actually) and looking back at these clips is definitely inspiring me to animate something again- though I'm trying to be strict on myself and finish the moth film first before I start something new. But a short clip can't hurt, can it?! We'll see...

Anyway, enough of my rambles, click here to watch the clip.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

I Won't Settle for Less

Since beginning my job in October, combined with the colder, gloomier weather; darker, shorter days; my broken shoulder and the ever decreasing photogenic football options nearby, my football photography has, unfortunately somewhat ground to a halt.

Now as spring approaches, the days longer and warmer and my shoulder well on the way to recovery, Saturday 25th February seemed like the perfect opportunity to (literally) dust off my camera and head to Bridge End: the stunning home of Settle United. A location myself and my parter have been wanting to visit for quite some time. It did not disappoint, even on a fairly overcast day. A ground hemmed in by dry stone walls and rolling hills made for a beautiful footballing venue and also rekindled my passion for photographing non-league football. It was fantastic to get back out there with my camera and even the editing didn't feel too taxing, despite doing it in a fairly fragmented fashion around my work schedule.

I hope this will be the first of many blog posts under my 'photography' tag on here, so watch this space (I hope)!! View the full set by clicking HERE. A few images below: