Surfing the Sea

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31 Awesome Things You Absolutely Must Do in Vancouver, BC — Sep 26, 2018

31 Awesome Things You Absolutely Must Do in Vancouver, BC

Little Grey Box

A city surrounded by water and mountains, Vancouver really is beautiful. As you drive around, it’s hard not to fall in love with the giant trees and green spaces, the awesome cafes and restaurants and the unique buzz of energy in the air. Giant street art murals and hipster spots are nestled next to historic buildings on cobblestone streets in Gastown and in North Vancouver, suspension bridges wrapped around ancient trees make for the perfect big-kid playground. It’s a fascinating mix of new-age culture and old-world beauty, offering visitors a whole world of fun and food to explore. To help you plan an amazing trip, here are our tips on 31 awesome things you absolutely must do in Vancouver, BC!

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Celebrating Canada’s 151st — Jul 1, 2018

Celebrating Canada’s 151st

Vancouver Burnaby, Victoria Johnson, Ottawa Carleton, Toronto Lester & Regina Bethune

Last year was Canada’s 150th year of independence, a huge milestone in its life. While this year is a little more muted, there will nevertheless be a patriotic, shining sea of red and white washing across the country as it celebrates its 151st birthday.

Following a similar theme to last year, I again used some of the main characters of Canadian Boys in this proud display of Canadianness. To be more precise – from left to right – Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, Toronto and Regina.

Everyone is attached to the Canadian flag in some way or another – most are carrying the flag, but Regina is wearing something slightly different from her usual garb. She’s dressed out in the colours of the flag, complete with white maple leaves (since if they were red, they would blend in and not be easily noticeable). Since Toronto is a singer, I made it appear as if he is singing the national anthem, with his hand – and flag – on his heart.

You may have noticed that the characters look slightly different to how I’ve drawn them in the past, with altered designs and differing skin tones. This is part of an initiative to diversify my characters and art more, in order to not make them all look samey and look like they were drawn by a conveyor belt rather than by a human. It’s also a great way to show off Canada’s wonderful diversity that makes it a great country to visit and live in.

Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦


(IAMP/PC) More City Doodles (2018) — May 2, 2018

(IAMP/PC) More City Doodles (2018)

A major new change has come to the weekly exhibition: from now on, doodles and drawings created in Autodesk SketchBook will be included! SketchBook combines the best of Photoshop with Microsoft Paint to quickly and easily create with artists’ favourite tools, including pencils, drawing pens, paintbrushes and Copic markers.

While any colours can be used in SketchBook, I prefer colouring with the Copic palette, as it brings my digital art closer to how it would be if it had been coloured traditionally – with a black inking pen and markers (not necessarily Copic).

To try out these exciting features, I drew some more doodles of some of the city fan characters from the IAmMatthewian Project (Project Canada).

Lucas Wilson, Etienne Maisonneuve & Vernon Mann

First up is a redrawing of this doodle, starring Toronto (Lucas Wilson), Montreal (Etienne Maisonneuve) and Vancouver (Vernon Mann). With bold black outlines and more muted colours, this version is much cleaner and less louder than the other. In an attempt to diversify my artworks, each of the characters are given differing skin tones, which due to the wide Copic range of colours is easier than ever. The characters’ names are written in a custom downloaded font to add a more personal and professional touch. As before, their outfits are based on the hometowns’ flags, which can be seen in the aforementioned post.

Calvin McCall & Edward Murphy

Fan favourites Calgary (Calvin McCall) and Edmonton (Edward Murphy) – both created by Hapo on Tumblr – also get doodled. The patches on Calgary’s Stetson hat were created using the rough pastel tool in black, while his spurs are sprayed with grey glow paint to give a silvery sheen. Diverse skin tones are also played with in Edmonton’s brown flesh, where previously I had coloured him with white skin. By colouring him brown, this is more faithful to Hapo’s portrayal of Edmonton.

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver: Splashing Fun! (2018) — Jan 22, 2018

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver: Splashing Fun! (2018)

The first multiple exhibition of 2018 might be a little out of place with the cold temperatures and snowy showers, but it’s never too early to start dreaming of warmer climes and sunny days by the sea.

This was actually spurred on by a (sort of) major update to the game I’m currently creating, Freddy for Action. In the original version of the game, bodies of water, such as the sea, could not be swum in – only stepped into. However, I later decided to add the ability to swim to the game, and also had an idea to allow the player to dress the three playable characters in whatever outfits they want to, which includes swimwear.

This would otherwise go unnoticed by my audience, so I got on to designing some promotional artworks to show off the trio of heroes’ new abilities.

Toronto Lester, Montreal Pierre-Elliott Trudeau & Vancouver Burnaby

The first in the set has the threesome simply wearing pairs of swimming trunks, the colours of which correspond to their usual outfits. Montreal’s trunks are the only ones in more than one colour, since they are based on his usual shirt, which is a patriotic piece.

Toronto Lester, Montreal Pierre-Elliott Trudeau & Vancouver Burnaby

The second has the trio wearing swim vest with their trunks, probably for when they’re feeling a little more modest. I coloured Toronto and Vancouver’s vests a different shade of blue and red from the usual for a little variation. Montreal’s outfit may remind one slightly of 1980s fashion…

Toronto Lester, Montreal Pierre-Elliott Trudeau & Vancouver Burnaby

The finishing touch to the set shows the trio actually out in action – running out of the sea onto the golden sandy shores. Had they gone swimming in January without warm wetsuits, they would have most likely succumbed to hypothermia, but this drawing is ‘set’ in the summertime, meaning it’s perfect weather for a day at the beach.

You may have also noticed Toronto’s chiselled abdominal muscles compared to Montreal’s and Vancouver’s. When he’s not singing or writing songs, he does like to keep fit – in both senses of the word… 😉

(A full list of the clothes and accessories in Freddy for Action can be found at this wiki article.)

(IAMP) West Meets East (2015) — Jan 15, 2018

(IAMP) West Meets East (2015)


(Continued from last week’s exhibition.)

The city fan characters of the IAmMatthewian Project are a dying breed compared to their newer Project Canada reincarnations. With the exceptions of Calgary, Edmonton and possibly Regina and Saskatoon, many of the characters have had a dramatic makeover in both personality and style.

You could then consider this drawing a sort of last hurrah for the older versions of Victoria and Vancouver before I finally started to draw the newer versions as of 2017. As the title implies, this is a meeting-up of the biggest cities of the western and eastern coast of Canada, and it’s also a great wordplay reversal of the common phrase “East meets West”.

From left to right:

  • Victoria
  • Vancouver
  • Halifax (Henry)
  • Dartmouth (Diana)

(I still drew the older versions of Halifax and Dartmouth as late as 2016, but mostly left the others to the past.)

This drawing is actually a redraw of another artwork I saw online by Misharoyuki on DeviantArt, which is seen below and was obviously re-interpreted into my own artistic style:


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