Surfing the Sea

Established 1995

Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2011 Version (2011) — May 29, 2017

Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2011 Version (2011)

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Just when you’d thought they’d gone for good, they make a surprise return…

Yep, for some reason, I decided that one of my longest-running series needed a creative comeback. Since I hadn’t yet fleshed out the Canadian Boys series at this point, I regularly swung between them and some of my older series, since they were more established.

For this incarnation of the Months, I invoked the feel of my own imaginative nostalgia and brought back the classic designs – the first ever ones I drew circa 2005 or 2006 – to draw in what was then the ‘new’ art style. (I had actually been using this style for the past three or so years previously, and I’ve since taken on another new style.)

Rather than just copy the early designs exactly, I added some extra details and elaborated more on their personalities and traits. Instead of being as white as a sheet (of paper), they are actually white as in the skin colour. I also gave a little bit of a twist of November: instead of being biologically female, this incarnation is male in a ‘feminine’ outfit. Since I wanted to bring the series more in-line with modern times, and prompted by the creation of North Bay in Canadian Boys, I transferred this onto November. The two characters do dress very similarly, even having an almost-identical hairstyle.

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North Bay Sketch

Also, December seems to have gotten over his bathroom blunders, indicating that he may have had some kind of medical remediation in the years between. So no more mentioning of that then.

These are the last known incarnations of the Months in more recent years, since the rest of that time has been spent building up on the world of Canadian Boys – which, of course, still continues with new characters being added and new places being established. However, I’ve been considering bringing the Months back, though of course with brand-new designs and personas which are more in-line with their seasonal features. This was inspired by seeing a few interpretations of the months by others on DeviantArt:

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December’s Transformations (2009) — February 12, 2017

December’s Transformations (2009)

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In the previous exhibition, I showed off the newest incarnations of the Months for the year 2009, just as they were about to be left behind. Towards the end, I singled December out because of his rather inspired powers of transforming into alternative forms, rather like Shugo Chara (which I was a big fan of back in the day).

On his suit jacket, December has four shaped buttons – a red heart, a blue spade, a green clover/club, and a yellow diamond. When he feels enough courage and presses one of the buttons, he will transform into a superpowered form of himself, his undershirt and the button on his suit jacket changing to the currently-active form, matching the colour of the symbol.

Although each of the forms are not dramatically different and do not have special powers, as with Shugo Chara, a certain active trait of December’s will gain a big boost, allowing him to carry out certain deeds more easily. He can change into another form at any time without having to revert to his ‘normal’ form.

As well as the four main forms, there are also two extra forms which are activated in very special circumstances.

Forms

  • Heart (Red) – Attack boost
  • Spade (Blue) – Creativity boost
  • Clover/Club (Green) – Defence boost
  • Diamond (Yellow) – Range attack boost

Special Forms

  • Cross (Purple) – Mind boost
  • Star (Orange) – Flying speed boost

The Cross and Star forms were based on the apparent fifth Guardian Chara in the Shugo Chara series, a witch-like entity named Fana. When Fana fuses with Amu, she becomes Amulet Cross, and can fly on a broomstick like the archetypical witch found in Halloween stories. Of course, there isn’t really a Star Guardian in Shugo Chara, but I always imagined that there was. Fana only appeared in special cards which were released with the anime series, and to date, she has not yet made an appearance in the anime. (As far as I know, the anime has now finished, which means Fana and Amulet Cross likely won’t make their anime debut.)

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Card showing Fana and Amulet Cross

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Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2009 Version (2009) — February 5, 2017

Los Ninos Meses Characters: 2009 Version (2009)

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Just when you thought I’d left them alone… the Months make a surprise comeback!

At the time, I still felt it was an annual commitment to create new versions of the Months every time a new year rolled around. This was obviously drawn at the beginning of 2009, not long after I began on the American Boys series.

While most of the Months stay pretty much the same design-wise – with a few minor amendments, as with April and May’s hair, some of the others have gone through rather… dramatic changes.

August is one prime example – she now looks more like a Pokémon Trainer with the Pokéball-like logo upon her undershirt, her open-out vest jacket, and her cap. (Although as of Pokémon Sun & Moon, Trainers do not have to wear hats/caps all the time, thanks to freer player character customization.)

Another very obvious wardrobe change is November. While in previous incarnations they varied between female and male, this one is female, though still blond as the previous two or so incarnations were. She has red heart and blue spade decorations tied onto the end of her ponytails, a nod to Shugo Chara.

December also has another nod to Shugo Chara on his clothes – having buttons in the shape of the suits and their respective colours, as seen with the Guardian Charas themselves. (You’ll find an explanation on why he has these in the next exhibition.)

Each month’s name is written out in the colour of their birthstone. (Here’s a handy visual chart for if you want to find out which gemstone is associated with which month. Since I was born in February, my birthstone is the amethyst. I guess that’s why purple is my favourite colour…)

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Dalston at the Dalston Party (2008) — June 26, 2016

Dalston at the Dalston Party (2008)

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Ever wondered why nowadays almost all my characters are named after geographical locations? Well, it all started back in 2008… with a little drabble called Dalston Rocks!

Set in the Los Niños Meses 2008 canon, it follows December who one day stumbles across the “Dalston Party” (originally it was the “Really Cool Party Which Turns Up The City”, but I thought that’d be too long to fit in the title, so I just shortened it to the “Dalston Party”). Curious, he finds out what or who Dalston is – an almost exact doppelganger of December, just named after a district of East London, wearing a pink Santa hat and with more villainous tendencies.

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Dalston

Initially believing Dalston to be a hero (although December can actually see he’s a villain all the way through), people across the city cheer him on whenever he appears, even while he’s tackling December head-on to the ground and trying to tie him up. At one point he mocks December’s “bathroom problem” by claiming that he’s gone in his trousers on top of him, which takes December somewhat by surprise, until he finds out it’s true. He obviously berates him for this, complaining that now he’s wet too.

At the end of the day, Dalston reveals to a shocked crowd that he actually was a villain all along. December pretends to be shocked, even though he actually saw through Dalston’s ‘disguise’ from the beginning, and the crowd say they didn’t know he was a villain – they thought he was a hero. Dalston then delivers another bombshell – he’s actually a part of the infamous ‘Hackney Boys’ gang, and laughs as he runs off to cause some trouble with his ‘friends’. (This set up the plot for the Hackney Boys movie, rather uncreatively named Hackney Boys: The Movie.)

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Dalston At The Really Cool Party Which Turns Up The City

So this drawing could be considered episode artwork of a sort for the whole ‘Dalston’ incident. All the members of the ‘crowd’ (I say a ‘crowd’, but there’s only six or seven members here) are Adventure People, many of them ‘founding members’ – classics like John the Chihuahua dog, Girassa the giraffe, Puggie the pug dog and Swannie the swan. They’ve fallen for the ruse of thinking of Dalston as a ‘hero’ rather than the villain that he really is, hence all the signs sporting positive slogans aimed at him and the repetitive cheering of his name. December, in the far background, can’t see what all the fuss is about, and he rightly senses something suspicious about Dalston.

Two more Adventure People appear as both a member of the crowd and as the bouncers – Dinotenna the alien dinosaur and Poplar the herb alien. They are from the Ruby & Amber incarnation of The Adventure People, not the original series.

Though the whole drabble with Dalston was only originally meant to be a one-off, it was the thing about naming him after an East London neighbourhood that sparked something in my mind. It was about to turn into something a lot bigger than I’d ever imagined in my whole life…

Oct, Nov ‘N’ Dec Promotional Poster (2008) — June 19, 2016

Oct, Nov ‘N’ Dec Promotional Poster (2008)

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If you were growing up in the late 90s to early 2000s and had Cartoon Network on your TV, chances are you’ve probably seen or at least heard of the cartoon show Ed, Edd ‘N’ Eddy. Animated by a cross-border team of Canadian and US animators and running on Cartoon Network from 1999 to 2009 (it ended with a ‘movie’ called Ed, Edd ‘N’ Eddy’s Big Picture Show), the show follows three preteen boys in a suburban neighbourhood who just all so happen to be named ‘Ed’, short for ‘Edward’ or ‘Edwin’, or a variation of it. Edd (with two D’s) nicknames himself “Double D” to distinguish himself from Ed (with just one D). It has grown to become one of CN’s classic cartoons from the 90s/early 2000s along with the likes of The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory and Teen Titans.

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Ed, Edd & Eddy

I’ve always liked to create my own versions of cartoons which are already ‘out there’, so one day I thought about what would happen if there was a Months version of Ed, Edd ‘N’ Eddy. The answer: Oct, Nov ‘N’ Dec.

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Oct, Nov ‘N’ Dec

Taking their names from the abbreviations for October, November and December to make “Oct, Nov ‘N’ Dec”, these three show off the ultimate in ‘cool’ in Monthland (it takes place in the same universe as the main Months series). Oct is the skateboard fanatic who’s always doing ollies and grinds around the neighbourhood, even if it’s against the ‘authorities’; Nov is the kind heart who loves to bake and look out for his friends; and Dec is the city slicker who’s into good food, good drinks and good times.

They are all a little older than Ed, Edd and Eddy – Oct is 15, Nov is 14, and Dec is 22 (so he can be a little over the legal age to drink alcohol in the US). It could be seen as Ed, Edd ‘N’ Eddy set a little further on into the future, except it’s very much set in the present. In keeping with the ‘abbreviated names’ theme, all of Oct, Nov and Dec’s best friends are named with month shortenings – so there’s Jan, Mar, Apr (pronounced ‘Aper’, like ‘caper’), Jul (pronounced similar to the name ‘Jules’) and Sep/Sept (he apparently doesn’t like it when people pronounce the ‘T’ in his name, so he acts as the ‘villain’ for the series).

All this was only an experiment to see what would happen if one cartoon got turned into another with my own characters, so I never made it into a full-fledged series. (I still do this sometimes with my own series – so I often think of Sackville Sailor as being in tandem with the Canadian children’s TV show Theodore Tugboat, both sharing a similar nautical theme but replacing the boats with sailors. Unlike Oct, Nov ‘N’ Dec, however, Sackville Sailor is a fully-grown show, with me drawing artwork and writing stories for it.)

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