Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

The Month Rock Band (2007) — Jan 31, 2016

The Month Rock Band (2007)

monthrockband

No, I’m not referring to the series of rhythm video games where you play as, well, a virtual rock band, but rather I’m referring to the title of this drawing of some of the Months playing in a REAL rock band! (Although I think the idea of my characters playing songs in the Rock Band video games would be pretty cool. Surfing the Sea Rock Band!) The Months’ names are written in Spanish, as I lived in Colombia at this time (up until about the end of November of that year).

As with any other band, I have the duty to roll-call all the members of the Month Rock Band (I know, not a very creative name, but it’s at least self-explaining). Here goes!

  • The lead singer, May!
  • The drummer, November!
  • The performers, April and December! (You can’t see him that well because he’s blurry from spinning around.)

Even though it’s called the “Month” Rock Band, there are only four of the Months here; the other Months are probably keyboardists, bassists, percussionists or even just roadies who help get the band touring and gigging across Monthland. (As much as they’re a product of the imagination, sometimes artworks need more of it to get the full picture…) (See what I did there?)

I actually have another musical-themed artwork with one of the Months in it, but as always, I’ll be taking my time before I exhibit it on this blog.

IAMP Pop Vinyl Doll Designs (2016) — Jan 26, 2016

IAMP Pop Vinyl Doll Designs (2016)

The third double exhibition of my blog! (Told you there’d be a lot more coming…)

For Christmas last year (or rather last month), I got a Pop Vinyl doll of Joy from Inside Out, as it’s now my new favourite film after Toy Story and I love to use the emotions to explain my thinking at a certain time, and Joy is my absolute favourite out of all the emotions. In case you don’t know, Pop Vinyl dolls are like mini-figures of famous characters from TV, films and sometimes even video games, like Game of ThronesFrozenFallout or Breaking Bad (Walter White doll, anyone?)

joyinsideoutpopvinyldollalicealiceinwonderlandpopvinyldollwalterwhitebreakingbadpopvinyldoll

If you’ve seen a few of my blog posts in the last month or so, you’ll have noticed that I often talk about a Canadian web-show called the IAmMatthewian Project (or Project Canada, as it is known now), based on Canada from Hetalia: Axis Powers and fan-characters representing his provinces and territories. (You can find more background on the IAmMatthewian Project on the Canadian Boys fifth anniversary post.) Though largely unknown around the rest of the world due to obviously being based in Canada, the web-show has quite a large following amongst Hetalia fans in Canada and even the United States to some extent, as some of the contributors to the series are American (weirdly enough for a Canadian production, but using American actors in Canadian productions is pretty common in the entertainment industry).

After getting my Joy Pop doll for Christmas, I became inspired to make some characters who didn’t have them already, like my own, into Pop dolls. My starting point would not be with my own characters from Canadian Boys (though I might make some in the future), but with the IAmMatthewian Project provinces and territories, as I tend to focus on them more nowadays. Since they are based on another existing series, namely Hetalia, it would make sense to create a line of Pop dolls based on a spin-off of Hetalia. (I’ve seen Dragon Ball Z Pop dolls, but I’m not sure if there are any based on other Japanese animated cartoons.)

So here are my imaginings of a Pop vinyl doll range based on the IAmMatthewian Project!

While making these designs, I used a photo of my Joy Pop doll as a reference to emulate the sculpture style of the Pop dolls themselves, like the trademark black iris-less eyes, thin limbs and mouths and small noses. Some Pop dolls do not have visible mouths (as in the Alice and Walter White dolls above, though in Walter’s case that may be due to his moustache), but I decided to add mouths onto my IAmMatthewian Project Pop dolls to convey their emotions more easily, as they would otherwise look soulless (rather like those creepy porcelain dolls you sometimes see in horror movies). Manitoba and Yukon Territory, for example, nearly always look grumpy or sullen (though I’ve seen fan-artworks of them where they were smiling), so I needed to show these looks on their vinyl doll selves to get their personalities across to my audience. All the other provinces, however, look pretty much happy, like the always-cheerful Nova Scotia and Nunavut. (Although Nova Scotia looks a little drunk in the picture below…)

iampmanitobachibiflagiampyukonterritorychibiflag

iampnovascotiachibiflagiampnunavutchibiflag

In order to closely match the original designs of the characters for, I’ve changed the way I draw or colour some of the provinces and their clothes. For British Columbia, instead of the traditional slashed skirt I’ve been drawing her with for so long, I’ve changed it to more of a “skort” as in her original design – flaps over her shorts with a slash at both sides. For Yukon Territory, instead of colouring her jean shorts light beige as I have been doing in the past, I’ve now coloured them in navy blue so they match her original design and look more like denim.

iampbritishcolumbiaheightchartiampyukonterritoryheightchart

These aren’t the only Pop Vinyl dolls I’m going to imagine and design; I have so many other ideas for Pop dolls, such as the aforementioned Canadian Boys and even my Canadian Hetalia fan-series A Mare Usqua Mare, which is also based on Canadian provinces (though obviously my own imaginings of the provinces). The inspirations from these cute little dolls will just keep coming to me!

falloutvaultboypopvinyldollghostbustersstaypuftmarshmallowmanpopvinyldoll

Scotland, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island (2016) — Jan 25, 2016

Scotland, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island (2016)

sconscbi

Tonight is Burns Night, when Scottish people everywhere (not just in Scotland) celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most famous exports and the Bard of Scotland. And because I’m so fascinated by Scottish culture and especially Nova Scotia, I’ve drawn this little masterpiece of my imagining of Scotland and his sons across the pond in Canada, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island from A Mare Usqua Mare, my fan-series based on the Japanese animated series Axis Powers: Hetalia! (Even though technically Cape Breton is Nova Scotia’s son, and so Scotland would be his grandfather.) (See the Canadian Boys fifth anniversary post for background on Hetalia and A Mare Usqua Mare.)

Each character takes their real name from the capital of their homeland. In this case, Scotland is named Edward (from Edinburgh), Nova Scotia is named Hal (from Halifax), and Cape Breton is named Syd (from Sydney. Not Sydney in Australia, but Sydney in Nova Scotia, the largest city on Cape Breton Island and the second-largest in Nova Scotia after Halifax). In the world of Hetalia, the countries have real names, so technically they’re not really personifications of their home countries, but rather just stereotypes of who the people from their homeland are.

If you have sharp enough eyesight, you may notice a common theme amongst the lands’ flags – they all have crosses, or saltires, on them. Scotland’s saltire is the Cross of St. Andrew, his patron saint (you can read more about Andy here), and so naturally Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, having sizeable Scottish populations, decided to follow in their father’s lead and adopt a saltire on their own flags. In the process of designing his own flag, however, Nova Scotia found that the design was already being used for a similar flag in Russia, and so he had to add Scotland’s coat of arms – a red lion on an orange shield – onto his flag to avoid confusion. Essentially, however, it is a simple reversion of the colours on Scotland’s flag – white and blue instead of blue and white. Cape Breton’s flag is green, possibly because of the emerald highlands of his home isle. It is rightfully so that all three of these flags should reflect their shared Scottish culture and heritage.

A very Happy Burns Night to Scottish folks across the globe.

Auld Lang Syne!

robbieburnsscotlandburnsnight

The Months Get Together (2007) — Jan 24, 2016

The Months Get Together (2007)

monthsget2gether

Though the Months are nearly always drawn by me in a whole crowd of twelve, in reality they all have their own lives to live and work to do, so they’re actually separated most of the time, only coming back together after a hard day’s work and they’re all going off to bed simultaneously.

However, on this particular occasion, the Months had a little fun time on their hands (or arms), and so decided to all come together and hold each other’s hands in a circle of harmony. Although they’re not really holding hands in this picture, as each month is separated by a red circle which I don’t know why is there. It might be a glowing orb of positive aura that is radiating from them, as that’s the only explanation I can think of in this sort of situation.

Due to me living in Colombia at the time, the Months’ names are all in Spanish (even though the title of the artwork is in English), though if you’ve seen my previous drawings of the Months on this blog, you should be able to recognize each one of them, even if you don’t know a word of Spanish.

You might notice that the Months are in outer space in this artwork, as they appear to be circling a planet with more planets and stars in the sky. In a fan-fiction of the Months written by my sister Melissa, the Months weren’t actually from Earth at all, but rather another planet far out called the Month Planet (not really creative, I know), which technically makes them aliens or at least humanoid aliens. An unnamed villain transports the Months to Earth, where they live amongst other people and creatures just as if they had been on Earth all along. Though I don’t consider this Months canon, I still thought the idea of the Months holding hands around a planet in outer space seemed pretty cute.

This drawing resembles a few later artworks of mine in keeping with the same theme, but with different characters. They will be exhibited on this blog in the future, so as to not spoil who these new characters in the frame are.

Celebrating Diversity in my Art 2016 — Jan 18, 2016

Celebrating Diversity in my Art 2016

Today is Martin Luther King Day. One of the most prominent leaders of the US civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, MLK famously gave his “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963, calling for equality of all people, regardless of race, colour or language. Every January 18th in the US is celebrated as a day to remember his message of peace and legacy to the global campaign for racial equality (which is still relevant today).

In celebration of MLK’s speech, I’ve curated this gallery of selected pieces of my own artwork featuring black, Asian, Hispanic or indigenous characters in a prominent role (as of December 2015/January 2016). It is worth noting that before 2009, all my characters (at least the human ones anyway) were white, possibly reflecting my living in a northern English town with a tiny ethnic population (me and my own family included, as they are of Colombian heritage). However, much later on I realized the world is not whitewashed – of course, there are people of other colours too – so I began to create some black characters, starting with American Boys. Afterwards, in American Boys‘ Canadian successor Canadian Boys, I significantly began to increase the number of characters from other ethnicities to create a more diverse character roster and reflect the make-up of the real world more accurately. Since geography is the driving force behind all my series now, whenever a character’s origins require that they be a certain race (such as an Inuit being tanned or a person of African/Caribbean origin being black), I will choose the ethnicity that will most suit them.

I have a dream that one day all my characters will represent the true colours of the real world, just as MLK himself dreamt of a world where children (and adults) of all colours could peacefully come together.

mlkdaycirclepeace

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