Surfing the Sea

Established 1995

My Story… — July 7, 2015

My Story…

Since I haven’t introduced myself in the last post, I’ll do it right here.

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My Art vs. Artist

My name is Sabrina Gardiner, born in 1995 in the north of green England. From the fledgling age of two years old, I always loved to put my pencils (or at that time, a felt-tip pen) on to pieces of paper to reveal the machinations of my imagination to the outer world.

Once I’d grown out of the phase of scrawling uncontrollably about all over my canvases (which included walls), I began to morph those marks into intelligible characters. My specialism was creating fan stories of my favourite cartoon characters, personifications with flags and educational books.

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The big change came for me when I turned 11 years old and moved to the far-flung country of Colombia. During the year and a half I lived over there, some of the mainstays of my characters would develop, as with a fascination with the months of the year that would last me a good couple of years.

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As I grew into my teenage years and returned to England, I needed to create more realistic characters while at the same time keeping that unmistakable fantasy feel. At this time, I had re-ignited my interest in geography after going on a road trip around the south of England, and so began on a mission to personify every place in every country, beginning with my green homeland.

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Completing (or mostly completing) my personification throughout England, the next logical step would be to go stateside and get on to personifying the United States. But I added a new twist that I hadn’t done with England – personify each state as well as the cities and towns they contained. This allowed me to explore even deeper into the country’s geography by looking at the cultures of each state to see what made each one different.

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But the real passion of mine started with me taking a detour at the cinema when the movies I was watching got mixed up. From there, I came across Canada.

Initially creating just one character as I did not expect to become too interested in Canada, the country suddenly began to take over, effectively ending my exploration of the States. At first I did not want to become interested as I wasn’t too much into Canada, but it then grew on me, eventually becoming my most favourite country.

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As I began to work more and more with Canada, a personal goal of emigrating over there began to form, which I still hold today and hope to realize in the near future. Every new artwork I create for the country makes my wish stronger and more determined to make my Canadian dream a reality.

Although I’ve been drawing characters for as long as I can remember, I only recently started to bring them to life on the screen. Initially creating short animations to hone my animating skills, these then evolved into fully-fledged episodes, one of which I am hoping to create a voiceover for. My ultimate dream is that these will eventually transfer to the small and big screens to capture the imaginations and inspire generations of animators to come.

And live in Canada, of course.

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ANSWOL: New Glasgow, Peggy’s Cove, Presqu’ile and James River (2012) — July 16, 2017

ANSWOL: New Glasgow, Peggy’s Cove, Presqu’ile and James River (2012)

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Nova Scotia is my favourite Canadian province; you’d know that if you regularly read my blog, since I love to talk at length about it whenever I talk about Canada (which is nearly all the time), and even got the chance to realize my dream by visiting it last year (along with Newfoundland). In fact, it’s so much of my favourite province that I just had to create a TV show all about it.

The big idea behind A Nova Scotian Way of Life – or ANSWOL, as it’s often abbreviated to – is the ‘scripted reality’ TV series in the real world which once dominated the TV schedules. Think of it as the Canadian – or more specifically, Nova Scotian – version of your The Only Way is Essex, Made in Chelsea or The Real Housewives of…

A somewhat popular show within the entertainment world of Canadian Boys, ANSWOL‘s producers insist that it stars ‘real people’ from around the Eastern Canadian province, and that it presents a realistic image of how Nova Scotians live, work and party. The show is actually a closely-disguised blend of documentary-style filming and scripted ‘reality’, much like the real-world TV shows mentioned above, making it appear at first glance to be an educational series about the lives of Nova Scotians. Veteran TV viewers and those in the know can see through this disguise, however…

The show’s vast cast is ever-growing, with more and more Nova Scotians gathering to represent their home province. At the rate it is going, it just might represent almost the entire province, with the cast members coming from all four corners – from the South Shore to the capital region and Cape Breton Island.

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New Glasgow Munroe, Peggy’s Cove-Clam Pond, Presqu’ile-Gisburn Flowage & James River-Beaver Meadow

Above are just a select four of the members of the ANSWOL cast. Unlike in later artworks, I didn’t really draw them according to their geographical location – I simply drew them in this order on a whim. With Peggy’s Cove being the exception, everybody here wears skirts – and the skirt-wearers are all boys!

  • New Glasgow is the resident ladies’ – and gentlemen’s – man. A Highland dancer, he is a regular at ceilidhs, Highland Games and other Celtic-flavoured festivals around the city. He has a bit of his own way with anybody he meets – he just can’t help falling in and out of love! He also has a pretty high opinion of himself and his looks.
  • Peggy’s Cove is a lighthouse girl, loving to dress up in a costume of the famous lighthouse of her hometown. While she’s normally a cheerful and chirpy kind, she can easily get shocked or disgusted by things which pique her. She’s also a girl with a fighting spirit, supporting gender equality and ‘natural beauty’. Her current romantic interest appears to be Wolfville.
  • Presqu’ile is a dancer who lives a traditional Acadian lifestyle. He wears a golden cross necklace and Acadian apparel in red, white and blue. He reveres the distant history and memories of old Acadia, and strives to keep its unique culture alive through his dancing. His speech blends a curious dialect of old French, modern French and English.
  • James River loves to fiddle about. He often performs with his fellow fiddlers around the city, sometimes out in open air, like on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, for more romance. For some reason, he regularly has to avoid Antigonish because of a perceived grudge against him, though this could be just the producers trying to inject some tensions and drama into the show.

Character bios for the rest of the ANSWOL crew, including the four above, can be found either at this post on the blog, or this article on the Canadian Boys wiki. Some of the characters have their own individual articles to delve deeper into their biological make-up and personalities.

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Cast of House of Strangeity (2012) — July 9, 2017

Cast of House of Strangeity (2012)

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After all the festivities surrounding Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s time to settle back into my normal blogging routine – a new exhibition every week.

Today, it’s House of Strangeity – a surrealist comedy TV series in the world of Canadian Boys. It’s the adventures of 14-year-old Stephenville Michaelson and his friends who just might seem… a little bit out of this world. Because they aren’t like normal friends…

Stephenville was out in town one ordinary day with his doting parents, when he accidentally stepped into an open manhole in the road. When he finally came outside, he found out that this new world wasn’t like his own – and neither were its inhabitants. Badly culture-shocked, Stephenville initially cried out for reunification with his ‘real’ family, feeling that the new one was too absurd for his sanity. Over a long time, however, he had to adjust himself, as he could never return to the real world once entering this one. Today, he and his new alien friends form the ‘Anti-Sanity Squad’, who aim to keep the world free from the tediousness of boredom and monotony.

As House of Strangeity has never been written about on this log before, character profiles are to be expected:

  • Stephenville

A 14-year-old boy who enters the world of House of Strangeity when he falls down a manhole while out with his parents. The initial resulting ‘culture shock’ did not bode well with him, and he spent many nights and days crying out to go back to the real world. However, all his attempts to escape were to no avail, since once somebody entered this new world of absurdity, they could never return to their own world ever again. This caused no end of heartbreak and tears for poor young Stephenville. However, as the years passed, he grew used to his crazy ‘new family’, with them adopting him as their ‘son’, and they formed the ‘Anti-Sanity Squad’ together, fighting to keep the world crazy and break the ‘vicious cycle’ of monotony. While he is a little weak and emotional due to being separated from his doting parents in the real world for so long, his ‘new family’ encourages him to stay positive in the face of adversity and enjoy life with them just as he would with his actual family.

  • Fergus

A lizard-frog-Dalmatian mutant with a sharp, three-pronged, forked tail like that of a giant reptilian monster. He was apparently born out of the desire of the mourner of a Dalmatian dog to clone his late pet. In doing so, he accidentally mixed in the genes of a poison-dart frog and a fire salamander. As a result, Fergus ended up having a venomous bite like a snake, and red-and-yellow spots in comparison to the usual black-and-white spots of a Dalmatian. Due to possessing dog genes, he will often wag his reptilian tail and pant when he is happy, chase his own tail and bark to warn of impending danger. Stephenville had to have him microchipped and collared because of the authorities classifying him as a dog (even though he is a frog-dog-lizard mix), and so he often takes him out walking in the park or at the beach, where he can dig holes and chase after sticks which Stephenville throws for him. If there is any food left out around the house, he will promptly snap it up and raid the fridge for even more nibbles to eat. At night, Fergus likes to curl up and sleep at Stephenville’s feet, and in the morning lick his face excessively, just like a real dog.

  • Haliburton Love

A young alien-serpent-sea monster hybrid with purple octopus tentacles for hair. Little is known about his real appearance since he is always fully covered up in black, and even less is known about what he is trying to say because his tentacle hair causes anything he speaks to be garbled as nonsensical alien gibberish. He appears to be attracted to Stephenville, and he is always fondling him with his sticky, stretchy tentacles while incoherently babbling sweet nothings at him. Despite clearly having tentacles for hair, Haliburton is somewhat squeamish – whenever he feels nauseous, he forcefully vomits out a thick, gluey, gooey dark purple liquid which can dissolve some materials as if it was acid. He often vomits near or straight on Stephenville, which has become something of a bad habit of his, as Stephenville always complains about feeling sticky and has to wash himself off as soon as he can. However, sometimes Haliburton vomits on Stephenville to show that he cares so much for him, with Stephenville lovingly cleaning himself up and caressing Haliburton. Stephenville sometimes uses Haliburton as a mop because of the appearance of his serpentine hair, and he will then wash out the dirt with Haliburton’s favourite shampoo and conditioner, which is dark purple like his vomit and contains aromas of blueberries and blackcurrants.

  • Sprucedale

A humanoid tree monster. Once a normal human being who held a passion for gardening and environmentalism, he one day wished he could become a tree to experience the effects of climate change for himself. Little did he know that he would literally develop green fingers – or a totally green body with foliage growing off him, which would be a curse for wishing to become a tree for the rest of his life. As he has foliage, he does not need to eat – he can simply lounge out in the sun and photosynthesize to keep him breathing. Just like a real tree, his foliage changes with the seasons – pink cherry blossoms in spring, bright green leaves in summer, red and brown leaves in the fall, and bare frosted branches in winter. During the winter months, he cannot photosynthesize naturally due to having no foliage, and so has to spend all day under a bright lamp to simulate the effects of photosynthesis. He will often eat gardening foods such as lawn seeds and potassium to help keep himself in shape, and the chemicals will not poison him as he is a tree and not technically human.

(Sprucedale isn’t to be confused with Sprucedale from the main Canadian Boys series, and neither should Haliburton – he has a different surname from the Canadian Boys Haliburton, as well as the two looking and acting nothing like each other.)

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Despicable Me 3 (2017): My Thoughts — July 6, 2017

Despicable Me 3 (2017): My Thoughts

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When I began writing for this blog, one of the first films I reviewed was Minions (2015), a prequel to the hugely popular Despicable Me series. Since reviewing Minions two years ago, I’ve gotten around to watching the first two Despicable Me films. Starring the little yellow guys who have dominated the world – metaphorically – for their cute antics and obsessive love of bananas, Despicable Me can now call itself a modern hit for animation, and a franchise. Because it’s now a trilogy! (Or a quadrology, if you count Minions.)

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American Independence Day 2017 — July 4, 2017

American Independence Day 2017

A very happy 241st birthday to the great big nation of the United States of America! 🇺🇸

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Here’s a gallery containing some of the American-themed artworks which I didn’t include in my previous post celebrating the Fourth of July:

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In Celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday — July 1, 2017

In Celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday

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Today, the first day of July 2017, Canada turns 150 years old. While that may sound pretty old to most people, they’re still young compared to some other countries, like their southern neighbours and their fathers right across the pond. 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇫🇷

Nevertheless, during their young lifespan, Canada has already built up an amazing reputation which many other countries admire and aspire to, in part thanks to their beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and life-changing inventions – such as the discovery of insulin by the Canadian duo of scientists, Doctors Best and Banting, in 1921. This enterpreneurial spirit stays strong even today, with a special variation of tulip in patrotic shades of red and white and a maple leaf-like pattern being grown for the big birthday.

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As well as entrepreuneurialism, Canada’s 150 years of confederation has also sparked the flame of creativity in its people and others, which includes myself – and I’m not even Canadian, I just hold a deep love for it. 😊

To commemorate this very special day and year for Canada, I’ve drawn a sketch – or rather, two versions of the same sketch using different art materials – of some of the characters from the Canadian Boys series celebrating in a patriotic manner. These are actually a kind of redrawing of a doodle that my sister Melissa drew back in 2011, which is when I began to work on Canadian Boys.

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Ottawa Carleton, Vancouver Burnaby, Victoria Johnson, Toronto Lester & Regina Bethune

The drawing is pretty simplistic in its layout and design, because crowds are a difficulty for me to draw. Ottawa, being the capital, takes the post of flying the flag, while Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Regina stand beside him to see the red-and-white streaming across the air.

The drawing is decorated with red glittery writing celebrating Canada’s 150 years as an independent country, with a tiny Canadian flag. Also, try to spot the minute maple leaf on the other side! 😉 🍁

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Ottawa Carleton, Vancouver Burnaby, Victoria Johnson, Toronto Lester & Vancouver Burnaby
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Ottawa Carleton, Vancouver Burnaby, Victoria Johnson, Toronto Lester & Vancouver Burnaby

Here’s to Canada, and to the next 150 years.

Long may Canucks reign!

💗 🇨🇦 🍁

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