Surfing the Sea

Established 1995

Father’s Day 2018 — Jun 17, 2018

Father’s Day 2018

Fathers helped to create us; without them, none of us would be here. Even if they’re only celebrated on one day of the year – which is today – they’ve always been around for us, even if it’s not a physical presence.

Because of this, I’ve drawn some special art for the occasion:

Pictou Denoon & Stellarton Bridges-Drummond

Probably the most famous father figure in the Canadian Boys series, Stellarton is dad to Pictou, the protagonist of my first novel Once Upon a Time in Canada. Although his mother Port Hawkesbury mostly cares for him, Stellarton does have his fatherly duties for Pictou. Here, he shares a

I had drawn a version of this before, but decided to draw it digitally to add extra effects, like the starry gradient background. The stars tie in somewhat to Stellarton, as his name starts with ‘Stella’, which is Latin for star. This reflects the etymology of the name of his hometown, which was named for a kind of coal which gave off star-like sparkles when ignited.

The town of Stellarton, Nova Scotia

To finish, here’s a celebratory poem by Keith Garrett:


Down through the years, there have been many types of fathers,

Unfortunately, some get lost with what it takes to really be a dad.

Sad as it is sons and daughters grow up without and not knowing,

Thoughts and questions are held onto that may eat at with sadness.

This father’s day let’s honor and praise the men who do stand strong,

To the ones who are new and too those who have been at it for a while.

You were there when first you saw his little face and a smile of a lifetime,

You were there when her tiny hands touched your heart forever, young father.

You were there walking her down the aisle when again her life began,

You were there when a son stood at the altar hand in hand with his bride.

Through the bumps and bruises, good times or bad, it was you strong as a rock,

To you on father’s day, the ones whom never give up, you are dad, a father.

Happy father’s day,

Keith Garrett

Stellarton Starman: Main Cast (2015) — Jan 29, 2018

Stellarton Starman: Main Cast (2015)


I can have many ideas at one time. Some of them develop further, while many remain as seeds that haven’t yet germinated.

One of those ideas was Stellarton Starman. Conceived as a spacey Saturday morning cartoon in the Canadian Boys universe, it was inspired by all those stories set in outer space I loved to illustrate as a younger child, but ‘modernized’ to fit in with my current focus of art.

As with many in-universe Canadian Boys series, much of the characters are based on those which already exist within the metaverse. In this case, the main characters – as seen above – are based on Stellarton, New Glasgow (from A Nova Scotian Way of Life) and Pictou respectively, but they are given differing designs and personalities so as to not come off as copycat clones.

  • Stellarton Starman

The eponymous hero of the show, Stellarton has the energy and power of all the stars in the sky, hence his name. He fights for peace in the galaxy, usually through non-violent methods – but he does have his laser blaster if things get a little out of hand.

  • New Glasgow Nebula

The ‘villain’ of the show. Although he’s not outright evil, his vanity borders on almost self-indulgence and only being concerned about himself. His flamboyant fashions and equally ostentatious behaviours are a source of much amusement to the citizens of the galaxy, who often can’t take him seriously.

  • Pictou Pluto

Stellarton Starman’s teenage son. Just getting started as a space ranger, he often flies along with his father in his spacecraft so he can learn the basics of being a galaxy pilot. He usually spends time with his mother Port Hawkesbury Hubble as his father is usually away saving the galaxy.

As mentioned before, this idea remains just that – an idea. But the show is still within the Canadian Boys universe, where it’s regular Saturday morning viewing by the kids, and a set of action figures is even playable with.

Scotland and Nova Scotia (2015) — Nov 30, 2017

Scotland and Nova Scotia (2015)


St. Andrew’s Day has arrived again, so it’s a great excuse to whip out this doodle from 2015 to show off the Scottish spirit which traverses across the seas.



Spurred on by the fact that Nova Scotia literally means ‘New Scotland’ in Latin, and also boasts a rich Scottish heritage and history, I wanted to draw my own version of Nova Scotia (not the Project Canada one) and his ‘father’, Scotland, together. While people from all kinds of backgrounds call the province of Nova Scotia their home, the Scottish sentiment stays strong in a select few regions of the province, especially in the northern towns of Pictou and Antigonish. The former is the landing place of 200 Scottish immigrants on the ship Hector in 1773, and the latter is home to the largest Highland Games outside of Scotland; the former is even nicknamed the Birthplace of New Scotland.



Happy St. Andrew’s Day!



Canadian Bonfire Night Spectacle (2017) — Nov 5, 2017

Canadian Bonfire Night Spectacle (2017)


What is Bonfire Night? This celebration is big in England, but almost unheard of throughout the rest of the world. Held every fifth of November, Bonfire Night commemorates the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and several other Catholic conspirators were stopped in their plot – the Gunpowder Plot – to cause an explosion at the Houses of Parliament in London, in an attempt to violently and fatally dethrone the then-King of the newly-united Kingdom, James I. There has never been another attempt since, but the vaults are still searched at every opening of Parliament each day just in case someone has managed to sneak through.


The mainstay of Bonfire Night, however, are giant displays of fireworks and the eponymous bonfires, on which an effigy (a huge doll-like figure) of Guy Fawkes is burnt. In days gone by, children would walk around knocking on people’s doors to ask for a “penny for the guy”, though this has decreased in recent years due to the fear of stranger danger. Toffee apples on sticks lashed with gluey caramel, candyfloss and flame-roasted chestnuts are favourite snacks to munch on while watching the fireworks.



While Bonfire Night is very much a British tradition, it has managed to find its way to some other countries around the globe, including Canada. This gave me an idea for a drawing…

Canadian Boys – Bonfire Night Spectacle

Inspired to get a gathering of Canadian Boys characters together to watch the fireworks, I mostly chose the lucky ones at random, though I wanted to include a select few straight from when my pen first touched the paper. I’ve never drawn a line of characters seen entirely from the back (to the viewer), so drawing this was something of a new challenge. The most fun part was colouring in the bonfire, allowing me to use a fiery range of reds, oranges and yellows, and lighting up the dark blue sky with fireworks drawn from metallic markers and glitter pens in rainbow colours for more realism.

Characters shown (left to right):

  • Stellarton
  • Port Hawkesbury
  • Pictou
  • Regina
  • Georgina
  • Jacksons Point
  • Halifax
  • Victoria
  • Vancouver (carrying a toffee apple and a tuft of candyfloss)

Happy Bonfire Night, and if you’re going out tonight to see the fireworks, have a safe one!











Pictou Doing What He Does Best (2013) — Aug 13, 2017

Pictou Doing What He Does Best (2013)


Last week, I introduced you to the Denoon family, from the Canadian Boys series. Composed of son Pictou, mother Port Hawkesbury and father Stellarton, this family is not like others – they have each experienced their own struggles, while also looking towards a bright future together.

This is especially true of Pictou, the Denoons’ 13-year-old son. He was born by breech with a bladder condition, the cause of much embarrassment and haranguing throughout his young life, which still continues to the present day. Despite this, he has managed to find a reason to be alive and optimistic – and that is taking up cooking.

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