Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

IAMP/PC: The Province and Territory Gang (2016) — Apr 27, 2016

IAMP/PC: The Province and Territory Gang (2016)

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It’s the whole gang from the IAmMatthewian Project/Project Canada! OK, so I know I’ve drawn them all so many times before, but this time I actually have fixed designs for each one of the provinces and territories, unlike previous attempts where I would keep changing one or more of their attributes each time, causing a lot of inconsistency. I’ll go through each province/territory individually so you can get a deeper insight into what I’ve changed for good.

Victoria Cheung (British Columbia):

I’ve changed her hairstyle from the twin ponytails with purple bobbles I used to draw her with to just one large ponytail with a purple bow. I now also draw that weird light blue cloth she wears as a ‘skort’ as in her original design by Sherry Lai instead of just a normal skirt with a slash. And of course, she couldn’t wear rollerblades and carry an umbrella around all the time, so that’s why I gave her a pair of beige laced boots, like Dr. Marten’s.

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Ralph Campbell (Alberta):

I changed the colour of his Stetson hat from light brown (as I used to colour it) to white, matching Sherry’s original design. I still leave off the chaperones though. And he can’t drink Molson Canadian or flaunt his oil-funded wealth in front of the kids either.

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Owen Williams (Saskatchewan):

I now just draw simple criss-cross lines in green and brown to create the tartan on his shirt rather than a confusing mix of colours as I used to colour it. The lemon-yellow shirt tied around his waist was added by me (it’s not on Sherry’s original artwork of him). And he can’t carry a bale of wheat all the time.

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Ilan Riel (Manitoba):

Originally I coloured his hat a light beige instead of the correct red (as per Sherry’s original artwork of him), and he even went through a brief phase in which his hair was blond instead of red (referring to how I recreated him on The Sims 3, where I accidentally set his hair to blond, and it stuck for some time.) Now I colour in both his hair and hat the correct colours.

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Oliver Stanley (Ontario):

I used to draw his glasses over his eyes, but now I draw his eyes first and his glasses second for a more natural look. I briefly used to draw him with a red tie (as he does in Sherry’s original artwork for him), but I now leave it off. I’ve also drastically simplified the colour scheme of his Toronto Maple Leafs hockey jersey and draw two flaps behind his trousers to represent his shirt hanging out the back.

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Jean Tremblay (Quebec):

In Sherry’s original designs, his hair was a sort of silvery-pink, so my drawings obviously matched this. However, she’s now changed it to brown, and I now draw a sort of hook on his head. I’ve also removed the Quebecois flag from his jacket vest, and he can’t smoke or gorge on poutine in front of the kids either.

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Marie McCain (New Brunswick):

In my earliest drawings of her I drew a builder’s belt around her waist (as in her original design), but I’ve now replaced it with a navy-blue sash. She went through a brief phase in which she wore black-and-white striped tights beneath her dress (a la Alice from Alice In Wonderland), but those have gone too.

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Joel Alexander MacKenzie (Nova Scotia):

I originally drew him with a sporran (as per Sherry’s original design), then I left it off and now include it again, albeit with a simple black tied lace behind his kilt (he wears it on the side). He also had a massive makeover for a short time, wearing a navy-blue tartan gown and shorts, but I’ve since gone back to the original design. I’ve made a careful effort to draw his freckles on, as I always seemed to be forgetting them (they are pretty small), and recoloured his hair from red (like Manitoba’s) to ginger (the correct colour). One of my biggest misconceptions is that the red thing beneath his waist-jacket is a tie (it’s actually a lobster), an error I still make today. He seems to have left off the excessive fiddling and drinking Alexander Keith’s beer too.

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Benjamin O’Reilly (Newfoundland) & Labrador:

Now these have gone through some huge changes over the past few years. In the IAmMatthewian Project, Newfoundland got shrunken down to a baby after the Great Depression hit his economy hard. Labrador would also nearly always be drawn with him, at least in Sherry’s eyes. In Project Canada, Newfoundland has now grown back into an adult for easier storytelling, and Labrador does not seem to be attached to him as much as he did in the IAMP. As such, I now draw only adult Newfoundland without baby Newfoundland, but still with Labrador as they come together to make Newfoundland & Labrador. I now also don’t draw Labrador with a scarf as he used to do – why would a dog need a scarf anyway, when they’ve got fur?

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Anne Montgomery (Prince Edward Island):

In my earlier drawings of her, I coloured in her pinafore dress a dark green instead of the correct turquoise/teal with white stripes (a la Anne of Green Gables, whom she is modelled on), which I now colour it with. The weird dark red I used to colour her hair with has now been changed to the correct ginger, but her braids are a lot less pronounced. Her apron has shrunken a lot at the waist too. (The black bowtie was added by me and is not on her original design.)

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Kate Sahneuti (Yukon Territory):

Originally I coloured her jean shorts a light beige, adding an orange ribbon at the back, and her undershirt a much more darker green. I’ve now changed her jean shorts to the correct navy blue (though still keeping the orange ribbon) and colour in her undershirt a lighter green for easier colouring.

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Cymbeline Thanadelthur (Northwest Territories):

In the IAMP, she never had a real name as the producers never got around to it. In Project Canada, her real name is Cymbeline Thanadelthur (as seen above), as chosen by the new producers. I’ve greatly simplified the colour scheme for her outfit, using much more brighter blues than before. I’ve also changed the little light blue beads she used to wear into bows, like with British Columbia’s bobbles to bow.

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Nanook Puqiqnak (Nunavut):

Like with Northwest Territories, I’ve also greatly simplified the colour scheme for her outfit, using much brighter yellows to match her always-cheerful disposition. Her braids have now been changed to ponytails (sort of like the old British Columbia), but she still keeps the little orange bows.

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So those are all the permanent changes I’ve made to the IAMP/PC province and territory gang. You’ll be seeing them all like the picture at the very top from now on!

The Adventure People: Ruby and Amber – The Starters (2008) — Apr 24, 2016

The Adventure People: Ruby and Amber – The Starters (2008)

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Created by none other than me in 2005 (around the same time as the Adventure Advanced Gang), the Adventure People was basically a sort of umbrella term for collecting all the characters who weren’t from The Months/The Month Boys together for easier identification. So it was just a filler series while I was concentrating on The Months, only turning to it if I wanted to write or draw something else. A couple of years later, however, The Adventure People started to have a premise of its own. Taking lots of its inspiration from the hugely popular Pokémon series of video games and the animated show, The Adventure People could be seen as an attempt on my origination to bring the whole concept behind those ‘monster shows’ that are so big in Japan to the Western world. (I know Pokémon has been popular in the West since around the late 1990s, but at its heart it’s still a Japanese anime.)

While the first series of The Adventure People didn’t have a special name, the second series did: Ruby & Amber (modelled on how Pokémon games are named after colours or minerals, like Red/BlueGold/Silver, Ruby/Sapphire, etc.) This would become the naming convention for every new series of The Adventure People to follow (the current incarnation as of me writing this post is called Opal & Quartz).

Just like the series it was inspired by, The Adventure People plays hosts to numerous different monsters based on real-world animals or certain human occupations, and reserves three as ‘starters’ for new trainers to raise as their first ‘pet’.

For the Ruby & Amber series of The Adventure People, the starters are Elvine, Leonina and Spaniela. Just like Pokémon, all the creatures have a specific ‘type’ (or ‘types’) based on an element, such as Ground, Fire or Water. Elvine is a Normal-type, Leonina is a Fire-type (made obvious by her colours) and Spaniela is also a Normal-type. Elvine is supposed to be based on a dog given his flowing ears and tail (yes, I’ve established that Elvine is male even though he looks more female), Leonina is obviously a lion and Spaniela is loosely based on the Spaniel breeds of dogs, though I just drew her in the style of other dogs I’ve drawn. (Dogs seem to be pretty popular with me, don’t they?)

When trained up enough, Elvine will first evolve into Elvirus and eventually Elviking, Leonina will evolve into Leona and then Leonaflame (gaining the Fire/Dark dual-type), and Spaniela will evolve into Spanielle and then Spanielacus. You can see what they look like in next week’s exhibition.

St. George’s Day: The Best of English — Apr 23, 2016

St. George’s Day: The Best of English

Happy St. George’s Day! St. George is the patron saint of England, where I was born and am currently based (at least until I fulfill my dream of living in Canada, anyway). Though now associated with England, St. George was actually from the area which is now Syria (so I wonder why he’s the patron saint of England, then). The son of Christian Greek parents, he was martyred on the 23rd of April 303 at Nicomedia for refusing to give up on his Christian faith. One of the most enduring tales about St. George is that he slayed a giant dragon, and near the capital city of Lebanon, Beirut, is the St. George’s Bay where according to legend the dragon was slain.

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So while it seems that most of the time I’m always fantasizing about Canada, my heart – and mind – will always have made its first home in England. It was even the basis for my first new series after the hugely successful Months franchise, Britain Boys – which I’ll soon be getting around to on this blog! (It eventually went Stateside with American Boys, and finally where I’m at today – Canadian Boys!) For now, though, it’s a huge part of the gallery of Englishness I’ve curated for today, proving that I do get back in touch with England… sometimes.

Everybody for England and St. George!

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Rainbow of Sailors (2016) — Apr 18, 2016

Rainbow of Sailors (2016)

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I’ve always loved to create shows-within-a-show. You know, like Itchy & Scratchy in The Simpsons or Terrance & Phillip (of which the protagonists are incidentally Canadian) in South Park? So I’ve always thought, why shouldn’t my own series follow the same principle? Canadian Boys is certainly no exception, with the likes of House of CanadaA Nova Scotian Way of Life (which I briefly talked about in my Peggy of the Cove exhibition), and Sackville Sailor, which is what this drawing is based on.

For those who aren’t in the know, Sackville Sailor is basically a show-within-a-show in the Canadian Boys universe for children starring a young cadet sailor of the same name, his friends Oromocto and Aulac, and the crew of the Navy ship HMCOCS Glacier (it’s also popular with adults). Its page on the official Canadian Boys wiki is possibly the most detailed I’ve written up yet (although there’ll obviously be more in the future).

Somewhat inspired by my Inside Out: Rainbow of Emotions colouring book (which I just so happened to get during my stay in Nova Scotia), I thought of all the colourful outfits which the sailors wear, and imagined them being put all together to match up with the colours of the rainbow. And this is the result.

The names of the sailors are all towns and villages in the Canadian coastal province of New Brunswick, which directly borders Nova Scotia to the southeast (which incidentally is where Aulac – second across the third row – hails from). Although the crew of the HMCOCS Glacier come from all over the Canadian Atlantic Provinces, the majority hail from New Brunswick. Probably because since Sackville himself is from New Brunswick, so must most of the crew be from there (even the Captain, whose real name is Lakeville MacNaughton, as found out by Sackville in the Season 4 episode What’s the Captain’s Name?. They still call him just the Captain, though…).

Of course, this doesn’t have all the sailors in the show – there are way too many of them to fit all onto one page, and trying to draw them all might take several more pages! Rather, I just included the main sailors plus a few more to include every colour of the rainbow (even though pink, brown, white and black aren’t technically in the rainbow). And in case you’re wondering – all these sailors do appear at one point or another in the show, and of course Sackville, Oromocto and Aulac will always appear!

(And another postscript: Cornhill – fourth across on the first row – and Hayesville – third across on the fourth row – ARE brothers, and they were both former farmers before becoming sailors for the Navy, which is why they’ve got corn and hay sticking out of them!)

Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2008 Version (2008) — Apr 17, 2016

Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2008 Version (2008)

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New year, new Months! Well, that’s the standard every year, and it’s been the ‘new’ year for some time now, but we’re back in the past, because this was my first creative work of 2008! And perfectly-timed with me freshly moved back from Colombia, where I’d been living for the past year and three quarters (we nearly made it a whole two!), to start a new life in London. (It wasn’t the north this time, where I’m originally from.)

So what better way to kick off the New Year in style than with some brand-new designs for the Terrific Twelve? OK, so maybe they don’t look totally new – many of them still keep their traditional outfits on – but this would set the tone for annual re-drawings of my characters.

June and July have reverted back to wearing shorts and trousers respectively (unlike the previous incarnation of the Months, where they were reversed), which was my original design for them. And you may have noticed that December is now wearing a smart black suit over his red Santa shirt! Unfortunately, he now seems to have developed what I’d like to refer to as the ‘Pictou problem’… (That’s a reference to Canadian Boys and my novel Once Upon A Time In Canada, in case you didn’t know.)

And you may also have noticed that some of the Months (like April and May) have been coloured in with coloured pencils! Having had one drawing succumb to fading from the sun, I decided to change over to coloured pencils, although I would still draw outlines using a black felt-tip pen. (Much, much later, I would switch to using pencils for drawing outlines, thus completely making any mistakes erasable.) The coloured pencil inside black ink outlines gives the characters a sort of classic cartoonish feel, or more like fantasy coming into contact with realism. (I briefly discussed the advantages and disadvantages of pens vs. pencils in my previous exhibition.) Ironically enough, I still wasn’t colouring in their skin at this point (though I would start later that year), so they still looked eerily ghost-like.

With brand-new designs in tow (for a select few), how would the Months spend the next new twelve months? (Months spending months? Ha ha!) Well, you’ll just find out over the next several blog posts…

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