Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

My Story… — Jul 7, 2015

My Story…

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

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.

mydictionaryfc aagxmaswrap

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.

lnm07 lnm08

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.

swimmingpoolppl sheffieldliverpoolblackpool

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.


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.

vanburn seavansky

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.

parrsborodance antigonishstomp


Day-Trip to Margate 2020 — Jun 2, 2020

Day-Trip to Margate 2020

Margate beachfront

Summer has finally arrived, so I thought a day-trip to the beach just had to be in order! This time, I went to Margate. This is not the first time I’ve been there – I’ve been to Margate once or twice previously, but I did not have a dog at either of those times, so this one was a little bit different.

While dogs are obviously seen around town, they are not permitted on the main beaches of Margate between May and September, which is obviously the peak of the summer season. Luckily, there are plenty of other beaches nearby which do allow our four-legged friends, and one of them is Westbrook Bay, just to the west of the main shore. 🐕🐶

Westbrook Bay often has considerably less people than the main sands, which can be great for people who just want to relax on the beach or want to take their dog walking (or swimming!) However, there are quite a lot of rocks, especially at low tide, so you might want to take a pair of shoes for swimming in so that you don’t hurt or cut your feet. The rocks may look hard, but when hit hard enough, they crumble apart and reveal a chalky white interior, which turns the water milky.

On this particular occasion when I visited the beach, there was a lot of seaweed floating in the sea and on the rocks, which made getting to the sea itself a somewhat slippery experience. I even found a tiny jellyfish in a mound of seaweed, which luckily didn’t have a sting in it, but there are also crabs who can pinch you if you take a wrong step. The one in the photo below was already dead, so I didn’t have to worry about getting pinched, but some crab-catchers nearby did catch one or two live ones! 🦀

As well as crabs, I also found lots of oysters, whelks and winkles. Whelks are large sea snails which are edible, and they are popular around the Kent coastal area, including the nearby town of Whitstable. Winkles are their smaller cousins, although they’re apparently just as tasty.

Whelk sea snail shells

Common periwinkle (winkle) snail

Returning from the bay, I had a small opportunity to see the main beaches, which were packed with seagoing crowds enjoying the early summer heat. There is even a pool on the beach which is filled with seawater, which is something that I’m definitely going to try out if I ever go back to Margate. On the train going back to London, I even caught a glimpse of Margate’s most famous landmark – the Dreamland amusement park, empty due to the ongoing pandemic (thankfully, restrictions are now being lifted, so it could be filled up again soon). 🎡🎢🎠

Margate Dreamland amusement park

Mermay Summary of Art 2020 — May 31, 2020

Mermay Summary of Art 2020

Mermay is swimming away, but before it disappears into the oceanic depths, there’s just enough time to revisit my mer-mazing art from this year. While I haven’t really drawn much compared to last year (given the current circumstances), I can guarantee you that Mermay 2021 will make a bigger splash!


Using Copic Ink Refills — May 10, 2020

Using Copic Ink Refills

In a previous post on how to bring “dead” markers back to life, I briefly mentioned Copic ink refills. These are little bottles filled with ink that come in all 358 colours of the Copic rainbow, which means there’s a refill for every marker. They can be used with any size of Copic – Classic, Sketch and Ciao.

Copic Ink Refill

On average, one bottle can refill a Classic marker ten times, a Sketch marker 13 times, and a Ciao 17 times. Not only does it save you precious money by not having to buy a new marker every time one runs out, but it’s also easy and time-saving.

There are a couple of methods of refilling a marker, the ‘drop’ method and the ‘injection’ method. The ‘drop’ method is recommended by Copic themselves as the easiest one, though some people prefer to drop the ink directly into the marker’s reservoir (having removed the tips beforehand).

Drop Method

  1. Once you have the required refill colour, remove the lid from the bottle. If you don’t want to get ink stains all over your desk or other workspace, place some scrap paper over it.
  2. Holding the marker at a 45-degree angle, drop a few drops of ink (about 20 should refill an average marker) onto the chisel tip. That’s it!

Injection Method

  1. Using a pair of tweezers, remove the chisel tip of the marker. This is recommended because trying to remove the brush tip can cause it to tear, as it is made out of two pieces of felt.
  2. Remove the lid of the refill bottle, and insert the tip into the barrel.
  3. Gently squeeze the bottle to ‘inject’ the ink into the reservoir. About 20 drops should be enough to refill a marker.
  4. Remember to replace the nib and cap when you’re done, so your marker won’t dry out.

The picture above is of an “old style” refill bottle. Copic have recently announced a new refill design, which is slimmer and transparent, so you can now see how much ink is left. They think of everything!

Copic Sketch Refill (New Style)

Courtesy of

Speedpaint: The Cape Breton Fiddling Mer-Trio — May 1, 2020

Speedpaint: The Cape Breton Fiddling Mer-Trio

I’m kicking off MerMay with the Cape Breton fiddling trio – Judique, Campbell and Lime Hill – as mermen! MerMay is a month-long celebration every May of all things mermaids, mermen and merfolk. 🧜🏻‍♂️🧜🏻🧜🏻‍♀️

This is a kind of follow-up to last year’s big artwork of all the Nova Scotians as merfolk, but I’ll now be drawing some of the characters individually. As I’ve changed Judique’s design since then (he now wears a yellow jacket in his normal form), he also has had a small change made to his merman form – he wears a yellow vest over his shirt, bringing his appearance more in line with the other two members of the gang.

Now they’re all ready to reel off some tunes under the sea! 🎻🌊

The Cape Breton Fiddling Mer-Trio
The Cape Breton Fiddling Mer-Trio
How to Revive a Dead Marker — Apr 28, 2020

How to Revive a Dead Marker

Winsor and Newton ProMarkers Copic Sketch Markers

I’m a huge marker fan; in fact, I have a vast collection of both Letraset (now Winsor & Newton) and Copic markers, as you probably already know by now. With so many markers, it’s inevitable that a few of them will run out of ink. But you don’t have to throw a marker in the bin and buy a new one every time it runs out; in fact, with a few bits and bobs from around the house, you can bring a dead marker back to life. It’ll save you time and money – and a marker from the trash!

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