Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays From a Bunch of Animals

I'm taking a few days off with the flight back to San Francisco tomorrow, but I'm sure I'll be seeing you all again in 2016.

Thanks for reading, sharing, and being the best support I can ask for. I appreciate it.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday and New Year!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Strawberry Dough: The Season's Sweetings Saga

Okay. I’ll admit that my Instagram and Big Cartel pages have taken my attention fully away from my blog for three months and counting. Either way, I’d like to extend a big ol’ THANK YOU to those who have been visiting the Blue Aura Oasis blog for that time!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk art, shall we?!


As I lightly wrote back in August’s Strawberry Dough Retrospective, I began planning out a 4- part series for the next series of travels and tales of Squishy the Sugar Glider and his Alpine Outback posse, called Season’s Sweetings. The main idea of the project was simple: give the audience more of what they’ve asked for since early 2015. Splitting the books up into 26 page parts based on the four seasons starting with autumn was the main takeaway from my brainstorm.

Growing up in New York City for a majority of my life –so far!-, I was able to indulge myself in the lifestyle and quirks of living through all four seasons of the year. Sure, relocating over to the San Francisco Bay Area was helpful for my soul and well- being as a working class adult, but I had to face a very painful fact: only Summer and Autumn truly exists here. That doesn’t sit all too well for drawing out a bunch of silly and philosophical comic pages with a doughnut- obsessed sugar glider, so I was lucky enough to recall all of the blissfully allergic springs, explosively scorching summers, and blistering bittersweet winters of the Tri- State Area in preparation of this series!

Autumn was completed on September 29th and the reception has been rather positive so far. The many elementary school students I have as my growing fan base loved the interactions between the characters of the first book and are definitely beginning to see patterns of their travels. Two big things I needed to enforce this time around. First off-

The Color Use


Wombat strolling on a lonely leaf- flowing pathway was a page with much needed gradient maps to emphasize my view of autumn’s beauty through the grapevine. It could also have something to do with the fact that it’s my favorite season!

Thanks to the success rate of this page, I managed to utilize the digital tool onto my hand drawn pages for better affect on the audience, while reading the narration within the panels.


Whether or not they worked is entirely up to the viewer, of course! And secondly-

The New Character


While coming up with a simple yet effective way to branch the character roster out from the main six animals, I began reaching into my memory bank from April. There was a specific marsupial I drew out as a sort- of Cultural Awareness post for not only Easter, but for extinct species of animals on the continent of Australia. Bilby, the character, was born out of the drawing above. She had a certain flair to her that screamed ‘THIEF’ to me and as I sketched out a few more facial and body visuals in ink over the summer, it became too clear to me that she has to be my next character.


And Squishy’s next rival.

See, Bilby isn’t a one- shot appearance like Dingo. Staring and barking contests can wear thin on a band of marsupials. Bilby has bigger ambitions. In the Autumn book, our introduction has a cunning nocturnal heckler mercilessly nabbing the unhatched egg of an undisclosed animal. Bilby even left a calling card! Talk about bold.

This led to many page ideas of seeing how Bilby’s unannounced run- in with Squishy’s glide for the maple doughnut can indeed throw a monkey wrench into-

Alaok’s Evening of Yoga-


Hedgehog and Echidna keeping predators away from their lime- green buddy-
And finally, food eating contests on the 31st of October.


The book’s topics and length caused an uproar of ideas battling in my head for supremacy of the Winter book-

And while Autumn was all fun and animal shenanigans, the Alpine Outback’s winter was getting-




One thing I’ll wholeheartedly admit while drawing out the Winter pages and drafting out the narration is that I knew this season should bring depth not only to the characters, but the subject at hand. Make no mistake; Strawberry Dough started it’s life as short but silly comedy of errors for an outsider sugar glider and his loyal doughnut. Then while ‘reviewing’ the book a year ago, my dad called me to say these words:

"Y’know somethin’ Aaron? I really just read most of this for the first time and, I think I get it now! This is a book about survival and choosing friends wisely. Heck, adults should get a kick outta this too!"

He wasn’t wrong. One general misconception of comic books and graphic novels at large -especially in America- is that they’re made specifically with only small, dim- witted children and illiterate adults in mind. The truth is that MANY authors and illustrators litter their content with subliminal and subtle messages underneath the tide of humor. For that reason among others, I can’t consider Strawberry Dough -nor SolForce- a Children’s Book.

Without giving too much away, Winter proves that!

Above are just a handful of pages I chose to preview to others before it’s release on December 8th. My grand plan for the ‘Spring’ and ‘Summer’ books is to explore more of this surprisingly broad setting I’ve established for a year, alongside bringing in a few more Aussie and New Zealand animal inhabitants into the fray to tackle Squishy, Alaok, Hedgehog, Echidna, Bandicoot and Wombat’s comfort zone.


Make sure to share the links to the ‘Strawberry Dough’ books to your social media circles and have a great holiday season!!

Oh, and here’s one more for the road.