My first artwork of 2011! 🙆🏾 😄
While the (short-lived) love I once had for America was slowly fading away into history, my newfound love of Canada was just beginning to grow. With the Canadian Boys series now having officially commenced for the new year, it was time to get working on creating a whole new set of new characters. (You can find the whole story of Canadian Boys at this post – while a little outdated as it was written two years ago, it still gives a great retelling of how I came to fall in love with Canada, the creation of the Canadian Boys series, and other Canadian characters I’ve engaged with, like those from the IAmMatthewian Project/Project Canada.)
The protagonist of the show. He presents the popular prime-time variety TV show House of Canada, for which he dons a smart black suit with bowtie and coattails in place of his usual patriotic casual T-shirt and shorts. (He is shown in both of his outfits in this drawing, right at the top.) His father, Oshawa, assists him in getting ready for the show, and watches him from offstage. He is a boy who loves fun and creativity – he has a hand in scripting and animating many of the cartoons which are aired on his show.
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.
A gregarious young man. He’s always getting everybody talking, showing his softer side when they’re ill or need some comforting. He’s also incredibly brave – his catchphrase is the rhyming ditty of “I’m Charlottetown Belvedere, I ain’t afraid, I’ve got no fear.”
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.
A 14-year-old French Canadian boy. He has an older brother, named Quebec, who cares for him. He speaks both English and French, the latter usually when he is with his brother or fellow Francophones. He is the perpetual love magnet of a girl named Laval, who is the same age as him and will never give up in winning him as his boyfriend – even though he doesn’t want it. He turns to his bigger brother when he needs to be comforted, often saying in French that he loves him so much.
Montreal’s 17-year-old brother. He cares for his younger brother, and is also bilingual in English and French like him, speaking in the latter when around fellow French Canadians. He tries as much as he can to protect his littler brother from his pursuer Laval, consoling him when she inevitably makes her move. He is kind and understanding to Montreal.
A 14-year-old girl who champions feminism. She has a dark mole on her upper left arm and a light brown birthmark surrounding her navel. She wants that girls and women be seen and treated as human beings, not merely sexual objects, and fights against any form of sexism – whether subtle or blatant. She also campaigns against the digital manipulation of photos and unrealistic body images in the media, which she says are damaging young girls and women’s self-esteem and happiness. Smart and always making the right decisions, she loves herself just as she is, and wants others to do the same too.
A quiet 13-year-old boy. Never making a sound, he communicates using alternative methods such as signing, writing in the air and miming. He is bookish, but since he cannot speak, he can only blankly scan the pages. This is compensated for, however, by his vast imagination – he can think up all kinds of fantastic adventures simply by looking at an everyday object, like a spoon. Sometimes he can get angered by people talking too much, meaning he needs to be left alone, but his cute, taciturn charm never fails to attract adoration.
An avid explorer. He always has his pink rucksack at hand – or on back – whenever he and the gang are ready to go on the wanderlust, keeping them entertained. He is secretly in love with Regina, who says she loves him just as he is, and vice versa. He keeps a library of travel guides and magazines, hoping to one day circle the world.
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.
A 16-year-old boy. Despite being a senior high school student, he isn’t exactly bright or graceful, and is prone to tripping up and dropping things at even the slightest twitch, and daydreaming when he should be concentrating on something important. His scalp itches quite a lot, which causes him to scratch his head and have to wash his hair frequently. He can cause (unintended) harm to himself and others by doing outrageous things such as splattering himself with mud or eating grass, with him forgetting what he did afterwards. Sometimes, because of stress, he finds it difficult to sleep, and very rarely, he can become totally oblivious to his surroundings. Nevertheless, he has somehow managed to get himself a girlfriend, named Victoria.
Vancouver’s girlfriend. A year younger than her boyfriend, she acts as a sort of caretaker for him, trying hard to keep him out of danger. If Vancouver isn’t around, she starts worrying for him and his safety. Because she feels that Vancouver would never be able to cope with life alone, she always stays with him, even if she suspects he’s going after another girl. She says Vancouver is a very special boyfriend to have, even just loving him as his crazy self.
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.
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.
Some of these characters would later get a re-design, which can be seen below.
After creating these characters, the rest has been history, and today my love of Canada is still staying strong like an anchor. 💗🇨🇦⚓️