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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Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2011 Version (2011) — May 29, 2017

Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2011 Version (2011)

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Just when you’d thought they’d gone for good, they make a surprise return…

Yep, for some reason, I decided that one of my longest-running series needed a creative comeback. Since I hadn’t yet fleshed out the Canadian Boys series at this point, I regularly swung between them and some of my older series, since they were more established.

For this incarnation of the Months, I invoked the feel of my own imaginative nostalgia and brought back the classic designs – the first ever ones I drew circa 2005 or 2006 – to draw in what was then the ‘new’ art style. (I had actually been using this style for the past three or so years previously, and I’ve since taken on another new style.)

Rather than just copy the early designs exactly, I added some extra details and elaborated more on their personalities and traits. Instead of being as white as a sheet (of paper), they are actually white as in the skin colour. I also gave a little bit of a twist of November: instead of being biologically female, this incarnation is male in a ‘feminine’ outfit. Since I wanted to bring the series more in-line with modern times, and prompted by the creation of North Bay in Canadian Boys, I transferred this onto November. The two characters do dress very similarly, even having an almost-identical hairstyle.

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North Bay Sketch

Also, December seems to have gotten over his bathroom blunders, indicating that he may have had some kind of medical remediation in the years between. So no more mentioning of that then.

These are the last known incarnations of the Months in more recent years, since the rest of that time has been spent building up on the world of Canadian Boys – which, of course, still continues with new characters being added and new places being established. However, I’ve been considering bringing the Months back, though of course with brand-new designs and personas which are more in-line with their seasonal features. This was inspired by seeing a few interpretations of the months by others on DeviantArt:

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Manchester is Strong — May 23, 2017

Manchester is Strong

In the wake of another attack on British soil, this time in Manchester, I just want to remind people that Britain – including London and Manchester – is open, and won’t succumb to hate.

Unity is the best counter to devastation.

✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

🇬🇧

Canadian Boys: Toronto’s Canadian Apparel Pose (2011) — May 14, 2017

Canadian Boys: Toronto’s Canadian Apparel Pose (2011)

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A few exhibitions back, I showcased the first thirteen characters I created for the (then) new Canadian Boys series, which of course still grows from strength to strength to this day. If you read through the character profiles I conveniently provided, you may have noticed that Toronto is a musical type, loving to sing and dance. This isn’t a comic-relief trait of his – it’s a serious career, at least for him (but not for his fans, who rush to him in their besotted droves).

  • Toronto

A 21-year-old man. The most ‘cosmopolitan’ of the gang, he is a master of song and dance, writing his own compositions and choreographing his own routines. His signature song, Canadian Apparel, which celebrates the colour of the Canadian fashion industry, has become a hit for many, who will even imitate his posture whenever they see the music video on TV, or hear it on the radio. He has gained the moniker “Toronto The Good” as a result of his catapult to fame. His parents, Napanee and Deseronto, are greatly proud of his achievements in the arts, and he still pays visits to them at their house regularly.

As mentioned in his character bio, Toronto’s most famous song, one of the first he wrote and recorded, is the colourfully-anthemic ode to the Canadian fashion industry, Canadian Apparel. This poster, drawn to promote the song and its famous music video, shows him posed in that distinctive stance that has made him an icon in the Canadian Boys universe. His fans and others often copy the pose when they hear the song or see the music video on TV – even his own parents, Napanee and Deseronto, have been known to listen to their radio and hear it come over on the airwaves, igniting parental pride in their son and his musical achievements.

While Toronto has obviously recorded more songs and albums since then, Canadian Apparel is still his signature tune. His fans frequently call for him to perform it at the end of a concert/gig, or whenever he makes special appearances on TV or the radio, resulting in smitten cheering, applause and thousands of bright flashes of their cameras. I even made Toronto’s childhood – or rather adolescence and subsequent rise to fame as a musician – the basis of a movie idea. The alliteratively-named Toronto’s Tale, the second Canadian Boys movie after Once Upon a Time in Canada, charts how Toronto got on the musical path and how he got to wrote that future hit.

(Somewhat coincidentally, there IS a Canadian Apparel in real life; however, the song’s title is meant to emulate American Apparel – I knew about the real one soon afterwards.)

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The real Canadian Apparel!
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A Canadian Apparel Yearbook, which coincidentally has a photo of the Toronto skyline on the cover.
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Some examples of “Canadian Apparel” Toronto sings about in his hit song

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Bracebridge and Sambro (2011) — May 9, 2017

Bracebridge and Sambro (2011)

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Six months into its run, I started on the second season of Canadian Boys. It’s an established rule of mine that every six months, a new ‘season’ of a series must be begun, and with each one, new characters must be created to keep the series fresh.

Putting this rule into practice, I began on creating a fresh batch of characters for the new second season of Canadian Boys. Two of the new characters were the couple Bracebridge and Sambro, who are somewhat special for probably being the first same-gender couple in the show. Another first is Sambro being the first character in the series to be Scottish, or at least of Scottish descent.

  • Bracebridge

A 15-year-old boy. In love with Sambro, who is 11 years his senior, he has a kind and sweet nature, using a lot of endearing terms in his speech. He feels greatly cared for by Sambro, who also feels cared for by him.

  • Sambro

A 26-year-old Scottish-Canadian man. He plays the bagpipes, often travelling around the city to play at such special occasions as ceilidhs and the Highland Games. Like his young boyfriend, he is kind and has a big heart, and his Scottish brogue is frequently peppered with terms of endearment. He feels like Bracebridge cares a great deal for him.

The introduction of Bracebridge and Sambro to the series would start a whole new ongoing trend of Scottish-Canadian characters throughout the franchise, and also open up an important, blazing route for more same-gender couples to be created, thus championing the LGBT+ community and equal love and marriage.

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peopleinloveholdhandsworld

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Like Father, Like Son (2011) — May 1, 2017

Like Father, Like Son (2011)

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A deep-seated apology for the lack of exhibitions over the past two weeks, due to it being the Easter holidays, but now I’m back again! 😄

By now, Canadian Boys probably doesn’t need an introduction, or just a short one in three words: Canadian places personified. Since starting on it in 2011, it has continued to grow from strength to strength.

One strength in life is that of families, in particular parents. For this special artwork, I wanted to focus on fathers, since – from my experience – in the media, they are nearly always left out of the family proceedings, or when they do appear, they don’t seem to be contributing any usefulness into raising their children or spending time with the mothers. (Riley’s Dad in Inside Out is a prime example of this – when he’s supposed to be listening to her Mum talking, his emotions are instead watching a football game!)

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Edmonton Janzen, Calgary McMahon, Winnipeg Armstrong & Winnipegosis Dauphin

While this picture is relatively neutral, it still manages to make the fathers of the Canadian Boys house gang the focus. They are drawn in a kind of ‘sandwich’, with Edmonton and Winnipegosis, the fathers, being the bread on the outside, and Calgary and Winnipeg, their sons, being the fillings. (Being that Calgary is known for its beef, I’d think it was a beefy sandwich…)

In case you’d slacked off over the Easter holidays and forgot what I’d exhibited just before then, here’s each of the characters’ bios (copied from the last exhibition):

  • Calgary

An 8-year-old boy. While he is usually very obedient, he does have his misbehaving moments. His favourite word is “guy”, calling many people – even complete strangers – by it, and even those who aren’t human. He has a brilliant photographic memory, which means he literally never forgets a face. He is cared for by his father Edmonton.

  • Edmonton

Calgary’s father. He has a great sense of humour, loving to have a laugh with his son. Thanks to Calgary’s great obedience, he rarely – if not never – gets angry. His love of fast food – like pizza, fried chicken and burgers – has caused him to gain quite a lot of weight, giving him a puffy belly. His favourite activity with Calgary is the ‘Tree Game’, where he pretends to be a tree and lets Calgary climb up on him, but he often falls off in the process, always laughing it off.

  • Winnipeg

A 6-year-old boy. In stark contrast to Calgary, he is rather disobedient, often getting into trouble for the tiniest thing. He is overly sensitive, breaking down in tears whenever he gets punished, and shuddering when the bad memories creep back up on him. He is very creative, though, loving to write and illustrate his own stories and paint his own masterpieces. Although they were born two years apart, Calgary is able to carry him, and the sight is always a cute one to see. He is cared for by his father Winnipegosis.

  • Winnipegosis

Winnipeg’s father. Unlike Edmonton, he is more serious and likely to get angry, due to Winnipeg’s disobedience. He is also even more aggressive, smacking Winnipeg with his meaty hands or lashing him with his black belt while shouting at him noisily. He seems to gain sadistic pleasure from seeing his poor young son in suffering, only comforting him if something or someone else has upset him. Despite all this, he loves Winnipeg and feels blessed to have him as his son.

Another slight, but significant difference from the last picture of Edmonton which I posted, is that his stomach seems to be bulging a little under his shirt. This was intentional; due to his junk-food diet, he gains weight every few months or so, leading to him being drawn bigger and fatter each time. This is one of the steps I took to ensure Canadian Boys was the most ‘realistic’ series of mine yet – since eating unhealthily doesn’t exactly keep a person in the same shape, size and wellbeing for long – and is an ethos I still stick to today.

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