Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

📚🌹Happy World Book and Copyright Day 2018!📚🌹 — Apr 23, 2018

📚🌹Happy World Book and Copyright Day 2018!📚🌹

By Hook Or By Book


Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.

~ Hazel Rochman ~


In honor of this year’s World Book Day, Amazon is offering nine Kindle books from around the world for free! This offer is good through Tuesday. Check them out here:

View original post

The Directory of Flags (2005): My Thoughts — Feb 15, 2017

The Directory of Flags (2005): My Thoughts


My first book review on this blog, and it just had to be about flags – which is one of my prime interests and inspirations… (See what I mean here.)

The Directory of Flags is a mini-encyclopedia of, what else, flags from around the world. It is compiled by Charlotte Greig, who as a child was fascinated by flags due to her father being an officer in the Navy, thus travelling all over to globe to new places. (Which sounds a lot like me, except my father wasn’t in the armed forces, and I just got into flags by myself.) First published in 2005, the encyclopedia has been recently updated to include more ‘modern’ history and political developments along with newer flags for newborn countries who have recently achieved independence. I think the new front cover design looks prettier, too.

Original front cover from 2005
Newer front cover from 2015

Once you turn the page inside, a short history of flags is given, detailing why they are used as lasting symbols of our geography, nationality, beliefs and pride, and why some flags look the way they are.


But this is the main show and attraction of this encyclopedia. Organized by continent (rather than in alphabetical order, as is the custom with most books on the countries of the world), each country gets a whole encyclopedia page of its own. (Smaller countries, such as islands, get much smaller entries.) They are illustrated with a beautiful header image of the selected country’s flag flapping about against a bright blue sky backdrop, together with a mini-map of the country and essential facts and figures, such as capital city, population, local currency and languages spoken.


Not content with simply just showing the flag, this encyclopedia goes a little step further – it gives a little rundown of the geography and history of the selected country, then segues to the flag, its own history and its (general) interpretation. While some flags have an officially-given interpretation (i.e. given by their country’s government), others are simply left to the viewer to work out themselves.


This, for me, is probably what the real beauty of flags is – decoding their meaning by looking at the colours, symbols and emblems used. A flag can represent not only a country, but also the pasts and wishes for the future of an entire people – which seems to be a recurring theme in the flags of many historically-underdeveloped countries which had been subject to totalitarianism. Peace, prosperity and nature/people are a few more recurring themes; the Bahamas’ flag is said to represent the heritage of its people (black), its golden sands (golden yellow) and its aquamarine seas (light blue). A similar concept happens with Barbados’ flag, where dark blue represents either the sea or sky and golden yellow represents the sandy beaches, with the fork of Triton/Neptune (the god of the sea) in the middle.



Although the encyclopedia has been updated twice, it strangely leaves out some newer countries which have been born in the past 10 years, such as Kosovo (born 2008) and South Sudan (born 2011). Instead, only Sudan gets a page of its own, and Kosovo is seemingly nowhere to be seen, with Albania taking its place. Timor-Leste (born 2002) does get an entry, however, as do most of the former Soviet republics who have since become their own country.

Also, the United States gets a few page spreads for the flags of each of its states and the United Kingdom also gets four pages for each of its respective countries, but Canada only gets one page. Which has spurred me on for an idea… How about I make a little book about Canada and its provinces and territories with their flags, since they each have a flag of their own? It’s an idea, and it could fill in the rather big gap… 🤔🍁🇨🇦



Project Announcement: Canadian Boys Character Illustration Book — Jun 6, 2016

Project Announcement: Canadian Boys Character Illustration Book

I’m announcing the commencement of a new project: a Canadian Boys character illustration book!

Put simply, a character illustration book is a book that serves to show off every character (or nearly every character) in a series. Despite being the creator, I’ve only really drawn 10-20% of the entire Canadian Boys cast, and many still remain undrawn even six years later!

So by creating a Canadian Boys character illustration book, this will help stimulate and keep my imagination running over the coming long summer, and at the same time finally reveal the designs for all the characters to both myself and my audience. They might even learn about some places in Canada which they’ve never heard of or been to before! (Which is the whole point of the series…)

Each page will set out the characters with their names in alphabetical order for easy viewing, reference and identification. As I write, I’ve already completed the first page, featuring all the characters who live at the Canadian Boys’ House. (Except Ottawa obviously doesn’t live at the house.) I’m currently working on the second page.


When the character illustration book is eventually completed (it’ll take quite a long time as there are so many Canadian Boys characters!), I will turn it into a downloadable/printable PDF document which can be read on any computer or mobile device (though you’ll obviously need a PDF reader).

This book will serve as a visual reference guide to all the Canadian Boys characters. If you want to get more detailed information, you’ll need to see the Canadian Boys Wiki.

The Case of the Crazy November (2007) — Dec 27, 2015

The Case of the Crazy November (2007)

The fourteenth book exhibition of my blog!

El Caso De Noviembre Chiflado (The Case Of Crazy November)

(Click on the link above to open the book in your browser. You will need Adobe Reader installed to view the book. If you don’t have it, you can download it for free at

Last week, I exhibited a poster of the entire cast of the 2007 series of The Months/Month Boys, or Los Ninos Meses to give its Spanish name, due to me residing in Colombia at that time. By then, I had pretty much finalized the designs for each of the twelve members of the gang (except for December, as I was about to decorate him a little bit later that year…) This called on the opportunity to write a little story starring these new characters. (Well, technically not ‘new’, but you know what I mean in this context…)

Although I’ve given the English name of the book for the title of this post, I wrote the book entirely in Spanish – an incredible feat for me, as I’d never written entirely in a foreign language before, despite having listened to my family (but particularly my mother, as she is Colombian) speak Spanish for years! (A couple of years later, however, I started to learn French and re-learn Spanish at secondary school, which helped me increase my foreign-language skills by a little.)

The basic storyline is that November seems to have lost some of his marbles in more recent days, and the other months (especially October and December) have to try to ‘heal’ him back into a sane mind. Though November initially tries to manage it himself, the loud noises he makes angers all the other months into marching in protest – either ‘cure’ November, or eliminate him from the calendar altogether (which will probably never happen in the considerable future). Realizing that November needs a professional medical opinion, October and December send November to a psychiatrist to try and get to the root of the problem. But will it work?

This story was actually inspired by another comic strip which I read… in a Spanish spelling and grammar book. (Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places…) What the story basically boils down to is why the letter H is silent in Spanish, but does make a sound when paired up with the letter C, just as in English. So I thought, why not give this a month-themed twist with November playing the H and all the other months playing all the other letters of the alphabet to help him find his place in life?

The Adventures of the Month Boys (2007) — Nov 29, 2015

The Adventures of the Month Boys (2007)

The eleventh book exhibition on my blog!

The Adventures Of The Month Boys

(Click on the link above to open the book in your browser. You will need Adobe Reader installed to view the book. If you don’t have it, you can download it for free at

I might be going a little backwards in the year of 2007 for a little while, as many of the creative works I created in this year are all mixed up chronologically and I can’t exactly remember when I drew/wrote each one.

Here’s a little comic book I created at the beginning of the year, starring the immediate predecessor of the Months as I know them now, the Month Boys. Much like the Danger November series of comics, this comic is inspired by the first comic in the Captain Underpants series of children’s books, charting the Month Boys’ “origins” and their first adventure they set off on, involving the trash from a cafeteria morphing into a green, ugly monster who can eat up everything in his path – even tables and chairs.

Although August is the Month Boy (or technically, Girl) shown on the cover of the book, the actual story itself focuses on April. False advertising on my part?

%d bloggers like this: