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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Coco (2017): My Thoughts — January 19, 2018

Coco (2017): My Thoughts

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(Slight spoilers if you haven’t seen the film.)

Film Fact File

Name: Coco

Director: Lee Unkrich

Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt (Balthazar in Despicable Me 3)

Genre: Animation/Musical/Comedy

Year of Release: 2017

Country of Production: United States

Plot Summary

12-year-old Mexican boy Miguel Rivera dreams of becoming a famous musician, but a bad event in his family’s past means that any kind of music is banned in his household. Miguel wants to fight this, and he goes on a journey into the world of the afterlife to meet his ancestors and revive the memories of his great-great-grandmother Coco.

My Star Rating

:star: :star: :star: :star: :star-half:

My Thoughts

Pixar’s on to yet another winner with this beautiful masterpiece taking inspiration from Mexico’s Day of the Dead (or Dia del Los Muertos in Spanish). Making a musical may be new uncharted territory for the animated veterans, but the first strike is lucky for them, with some pretty memorable numbers like “Remember Me” and “Poco Loco”, sung by Miguel’s child voice actor Anthony Gonzalez.

Being of Hispanic heritage myself (albeit not Mexican but Colombian), I’d always wanted to see a representation of the Latin ethnicity in animation beyond Speedy Gonzalez. Pixar granted that wish, and I can now say that Coco will be a trailblazer (quite literally) for Latin representation on both the big and small screen.

Fun Facts

  • This is Pixar’s first musical film.
  • To remain authentic, the cast is predominantly Hispanic.
  • At the beginning of the film, balloons of Woody and Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story frame can be seen.
Three Billboards (2018): My Thoughts — January 17, 2018

Three Billboards (2018): My Thoughts

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(For this year, I’ve devised a new format for future reviews on this blog, starting with today’s. It’s easier to read and allows people to quickly pick up on facts without having to read through many lines of text. Also, slight spoilers ahead if you haven’t yet seen the film, and a trigger warning for rape and racial abuse.)

Film Fact File

Name: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (or simply Three Billboards)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell

Genre: Crime/Mystery/Comedy/Drama

Year of Release: 2017

Country of Production: United States 🇺🇸

Plot Summary

In a small town in rural Missouri, a woman frustrated by the local police department’s incompetence and laziness in solving the cold case of her raped and murdered daughter decides to re-ignite their attention – by advertising it on three large billboards just outside the town.

My Star Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Thoughts

This is the second more ‘mature’ movie I have seen in a cinema after Wind River.

The ‘big crime hitting and shocking a small town in America’ may have been done many times before in the movies, but this Oscar contender sprinkles in a few darkly comedic moments to lighten up the overall rather gloomy mood and put a spin on the formula.

While there’s a few funny moments throughout the film, it touches upon something that has sadly become all too familiar in America, if not around the world; the trivialization of rape by some police forces, police brutality and the torturing of black people for minor matters.

Three Billboards‘ story is somewhat similar to Wind River, as both are concerned with the apparent rape and murder of a young woman, and remaining unsolved; however, in the latter the victim was Native American, while in this film the victim was Caucasian white.

With recent storms brewing in the movie industry, sexual abuse is now at the top of the popular agenda for this year. It’s likely that this will influence many more films for a few good years, but outside of Hollywood, appropriate awareness and prevention is needed for both men and women to prevent another case like the one in this film.

Fun Fact

Ebbing is not a real town in Missouri. I can verify this because I searched for it on Google Maps, but it turned up nothing.

(IAMP) West Meets East (2015) — January 15, 2018

(IAMP) West Meets East (2015)

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(Continued from last week’s exhibition.)

The city fan characters of the IAmMatthewian Project are a dying breed compared to their newer Project Canada reincarnations. With the exceptions of Calgary, Edmonton and possibly Regina and Saskatoon, many of the characters have had a dramatic makeover in both personality and style.

You could then consider this drawing a sort of last hurrah for the older versions of Victoria and Vancouver before I finally started to draw the newer versions as of 2017. As the title implies, this is a meeting-up of the biggest cities of the western and eastern coast of Canada, and it’s also a great wordplay reversal of the common phrase “East meets West”.

From left to right:

  • Victoria
  • Vancouver
  • Halifax (Henry)
  • Dartmouth (Diana)

(I still drew the older versions of Halifax and Dartmouth as late as 2016, but mostly left the others to the past.)

This drawing is actually a redraw of another artwork I saw online by Misharoyuki on DeviantArt, which is seen below and was obviously re-interpreted into my own artistic style:

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Vancouver and Victoria’s Christmas Date: Chapter 4 — January 14, 2018

Vancouver and Victoria’s Christmas Date: Chapter 4

While Victoria laid out the turkey on a baking tray wrapped in tinfoil, she fetched some roast potatoes and mixed vegetables from the freezer, and gravy granules from the stockcupboard. She brought the kettle to the boil as she filled half of a glass jug with some of the gravy granules, pouring over the steaming water and whisking it together with a wooden spoon. Not wanting to waste any of the water, she used the remainder to make both herself and Vancouver two cups of hot cocoa.

Victoria set out the table and slid the turkey out of the oven. She carefully carved it into thick, juicy slices and dished out some of the potatoes and vegetables, finishing off with a drizzle of gravy. To apply the finishing touches, she set out a couple of mince pies onto a smaller plate in the centre – one for her and one for Vancouver.

“Van, Christmas Eve dinner’s ready!” Victoria called.

Her boyfriend came rumbling down the stairs, now in his sleepwear and thick insulated ruby-red cotton socks.

“You’re in your pyjamas already? It’s only five in the afternoon.”

“Well, in the winter it gets darker earlier, right? And darkness to me means pyjama time,” Vancouver chuckled.

Victoria tut-tutted affably, igniting the scented candles to release their festive fragrances, and softly dimming the light. “That’s what I love about you, Vancouver – you’re just so simple-minded.”

“I hope that was meant as a compliment.” Vancouver grinned at his girlfriend as he sat down and they both began tucking in to their turkey dinners. He gobbled his up with extra lashings of gravy for added meatiness.


“Now let’s relax – tonight’s a movie night,” Victoria suggested.

“A Christmas movie night,” added Vancouver, beaming.

She carefully carried the candles across to the sitting room, the aromas wafting over, and gently dimmed the lights there too. Just as she set them down, she remembered the mince pies in the kitchen, so she lay another two out on the same plate and poured a fresh glass of milk. She left them out under the Christmas tree, switching the decorations on for the magic touch.

Vancouver slumped himself down on the couch, tightly swathing himself in his silky-soft, berry-red blanket while Victoria draped her own black and rose-pink blanket over herself. She lightly tapped the power button on the remote, and the couple began running their Christmas movie marathon, watching one holiday-themed movie after another to work up their excitement for tomorrow. They could watch all the fun in the snow and on the ice from the balminess and comfort provided by the cocoons of their blankets.

By the time of the third movie, Vancouver’s eyelids were weighing themselves down, and he inevitably dozed off. Victoria watched the rest of the festive movie selection alone with her snoozing, snoring boyfriend slouched beside her.


Five minutes to midnight. Victoria pinged the TV off and gently tapped Vancouver. He managed to shake himself awake for just a few more minutes while his girlfriend snuffed out the candles, and he heaved his tired, sagging body after her up the stairs and into their bedroom.

Just as they both hit the hay, a forceful thud and the clattering of what sounded like hooves rang out from the roof. Vancouver and Victoria’s eyes widened in awe, but decided to think nothing else of it, falling fast asleep for their safety.


“It’s Christmas!”

Victoria was once again woken by her impatient boyfriend bouncing on her bed. She glimpsed back at the calendar from her pillow.

“You’re right, it IS Christmas.”

The couple made a mad dash downstairs to find the sitting room chock-a-block with presents of all shapes and sizes, the milk half-imbibed, and the mince pies nibbled into, leaving big bite marks on the shortcake pastry. They gasped in astonishment…

“Merry Christmas!”

Vancouver and Victoria squeezed each other in the tightest embrace, and they promptly sat themselves down under the illuminated Christmas tree, eager to open their gifts. Just as he was about to open his first present of the day, Vancouver scratched his scalp. His girlfriend whipped over to him, seeming stunned.

“Vancouver? Did you just… scratch your head?” she asked.

“Yeah, I did,” Vancouver admitted, smiling rather ashamedly. “Must’ve been all the heat. Dried my scalp clean out.”

“Oh Vancouver,” Victoria laughed, playfully slapping her boyfriend on the back. He laughed too, and they started to unwrap all their gifts together as the billowing snow twinkled outside with the gleam of many crystals.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Vancouver and Victoria’s Christmas Date: Chapter 3 — January 11, 2018

Vancouver and Victoria’s Christmas Date: Chapter 3

Vancouver and Victoria stepped inside a warm and comfy log cabin out of the biting winter cold, doubling up as a hot dog shack. They made their space in a corner decked with plump ruby red-leather sofas and armchairs, and embellished with fluffy down cushions of various shades of red from salmon through strawberry to mahogany.

“Hot dog, Van?” Victoria asked her peckish boyfriend.

“Yeah.” Vancouver nodded, breathing hot air into the palms of his gloves.

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