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.

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


Another Double IAMP/PC Christmas Helping! (2017) — December 11, 2017

Another Double IAMP/PC Christmas Helping! (2017)

Having served up a double Christmas helping of Project Canada a couple of Christmases ago, it’s time for another one – just in time for the festive season!

Sherry Lai’s Canada – The Santa Hat Get-Together

First up is the obligatory Santa hat gathering, but with a little twist. Instead of the traditional red or green (as per vintage festive Coca-Cola adverts), all the provinces and territories’ hats are in a different colour, which corresponds somewhat with the colour of their outfits. Some of their outfits have been slightly modified to fit the wild wintry weather better, like adding boots and undershirts.

Matthew Williams & His Provinces & Territories

The second details a traditional family Christmas gathering – in front of the TV. In a somewhat occasional appearance in these kinds of drawings, Canada stands back in the corner with Labrador – who for some reason is separated from Newfoundland – as his kids gather around the set to watch a festive movie. Since the TV has its back to the viewer, it’s left to their imagination as to which movie they’re watching. For a Canadian Christmas, possibly One Magic Christmas – which was filmed around Ontario, or the myriad festive films which the Hallmark Channel churns out every year, which are mostly filmed in various locations around Canada, despite usually trying to put on an American facade?

This also marks the second time that a room in Canada’s house has appeared in a drawing, the first time being in the New Year’s Eve party from 2015:

Sherry Lai’s Canada – New Year’s Party
Vancouver and Victoria’s Christmas Date: Chapter 1 — December 3, 2017

Vancouver and Victoria’s Christmas Date: Chapter 1

“It’s Christmas!”

Victoria’s bed jolted up and down as her boyfriend, Vancouver, bounced with exhilaration.

“It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!”

Victoria, still half-asleep, peeked at the calendar on the wall. December 24th.

“Vancouver, it’s only Christmas Eve,” she reminded him, and his face fell. He stepped off the bed to let her out. She plumped up the pillow and straightened out the duvet, then she playfully tussled Vancouver’s hair.

“Such a silly boy, you are,” she told him, and he grinned, taking that as a compliment.

Victoria headed downstairs to the kitchen, Vancouver following behind in thick white cotton socks, to cook the not-quite-Christmas breakfast. The rich yet sweet aroma of chocolate wafted about in the air as she beat some waffle mix in a bowl, sprinkling in a pinch of cinnamon to add some kick. Vancouver entered and inhaled a good long sniff.

“Mmm, smells just like Christmas.”

Victoria nodded, filling the mould of the waffle iron with the mix and snapping it closed. She poured two mugs of cocoa into their personalized cups, drizzling over more cinnamon and handfuls of mini marshmallows. She topped them off with a spraying of whipped cream and a final garnish of cinnamon just as the waffle iron dinged.

Victoria slid the freshly-baked waffles onto a couple of plates, decorating them with fans of red apple slices and even more cinnamon sprinkles. Vancouver inhaled the deepest sniff he could.

“Ooh, that’s the most delicious Christmas breakfast you’ve ever made, Victoria.”

“Well, thank you, Vancouver,” smiled Victoria, laying the food and drinks down on the table.

Victoria munched down firstly on the apple slices, and neatly chopped the waffles in half with her knife. Vancouver swigged big gulps of his cocoa with massive chunks of waffle. Victoria watched him from just across the table, sadly shaking her head in resignation.

Vancouver polished off his plate and cup so fast that by the time he’d finished his breakfast, Victoria was still savouring her waffles.

“Oh Vancouver, it’s like you forget anything I tell you not to do.”

She shook her head again, and Vancouver smiled ruefully. He went over to wash his dirty cutlery.

“Even at Christmas, I still have to do the dishes…” he chuckled.

A light knock came at the bathroom door.

“Santa won’t like you scratching your head, Van,” Victoria called through the wooden panels.

“Eh, it’s alright. He’ll probably mistake the dandruff for snowflakes anyway,” laughed Vancouver.

Victoria could hear him scrubbing shampoo into his scalp from the bedroom while she got dressed into her winter gear.

“Oh, did I come in too early? Sorry.”

Victoria, who was just about slipping on her boots and scarf, was interrupted by Vancouver, who was wrapped in a red towel, his hair dripping. She stepped outside briefly and shut the door to let him get dressed in private.

A few minutes later, she reopened the door to find Vancouver sliding his boots on.

“Vancouver, you’re just putting on your usual clothes and just have your boots to protect yourself from the cold?” Victoria asked.

“Oh, it may look like that to you, but they’re double-padded on the inside,” Vancouver reassured her, patting the thighs of his trousers.

“Well, okay. If that’s how you’re going to go.”

Once they’d both gotten kitted out into their winterwear, Victoria gave Vancouver’s hair a good dry and combing-through to keep it glossy and smooth. Vancouver enjoyed the relaxing dual sensation of the teeth of the comb massaging his roots and scalp and the heat from the hairdryer warming his head. Victoria gave his hair another finishing combing-down, touching it for its lovely softness.

In the hallway, Vancouver and Victoria tugged some thick black insulated gloves onto their hands.

“We wear black because it absorbs more light from the sun and so keeps us warmer,” she told him.

“Ah thanks, Vic. Didn’t know that,” giggled Vancouver.

“You don’t know many things, Vancouver.”

The two stepped out into the fresh Arctic air and snow, shutting the door behind them, and began strolling onto the icy streets of the frozen city.

My Christmas Wishlist 2017 — December 1, 2017
Scotland and Nova Scotia (2015) — November 30, 2017

Scotland and Nova Scotia (2015)


St. Andrew’s Day has arrived again, so it’s a great excuse to whip out this doodle from 2015 to show off the Scottish spirit which traverses across the seas.



Spurred on by the fact that Nova Scotia literally means ‘New Scotland’ in Latin, and also boasts a rich Scottish heritage and history, I wanted to draw my own version of Nova Scotia (not the Project Canada one) and his ‘father’, Scotland, together. While people from all kinds of backgrounds call the province of Nova Scotia their home, the Scottish sentiment stays strong in a select few regions of the province, especially in the northern towns of Pictou and Antigonish. The former is the landing place of 200 Scottish immigrants on the ship Hector in 1773, and the latter is home to the largest Highland Games outside of Scotland; the former is even nicknamed the Birthplace of New Scotland.



Happy St. Andrew’s Day!



IAMP/PC: Family Photo Time (2015) — November 28, 2017

IAMP/PC: Family Photo Time (2015)


Some ideas are formed from things we’ve seen, heard or experienced; others just come straight to us out of the blue, but nevertheless still providing us with inspiration.

This drawing was of the latter kind – it suddenly came to me without any previous context, but a fun one: what if Canada (of Hetalia: Axis Powers) were to take a family photograph of his province and territory kids? He is not visible to the viewer, but rather behind the camera (as made clear by the ‘framings’ around the corners).

Since I thought just drawing out the provinces sitting straight and neat would be boring, I decided to bring in a little bit of action and fun by having them mess up the otherwise perfect composition. Canada would probably not be amused, as it’s the famously obnoxious Ontario and quarrelsome Quebec who started the whole downward spiral.

Their sudden outburst has caused a falling-dominoes effect of making the others fall over, like Labrador getting excited and knocking Newfoundland down, New Brunswick toppling over onto her one leg, and Nova Scotia getting tied up in her arms. Others, tired of keeping a smile, have instead expressed their un-amusement at the ensuing chaos, like Yukon and Prince Edward Island, and the rest still maintaining the poses they were intending to strike before, or simply staying calm.

For some time after, I had considered a ‘sequel’ to this drawing, in which Canada would now be visible having set his camera on to the self-timer function and quickly rushing into frame, with his kids directly behind him. More recently, I have even considered instead drawing the main cast of Canadian Boys in the camera frame, where an otherwise peaceful family photo is ruined by Vancouver‘s ungraceful clumsiness and head-scratching!

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