Monday, June 20, 2016

Ausora; the Kickstarter

Taken from the official Kickstarter page! Ausora

It all started on the last day of my prior Wednesday Cartooning class. Empty sketchbooks, coloring books & a Pokémon manga were given out as farewell gifts. Later in the class, this was asked:

“Aaron Man, I have a quick question. Do you know of any publishing companies that'll, like, take kids work & print them?!”

“You’re looking at one,” I responded, smirking.

This is where I come in! In the summer of 2014, I dived feet-first into the realm of independent book publishing with my first book “Strawberry Dough.” It follows the main character, Squishy the Sugar Glider, a curious marsupial creature who takes his species name way too seriously and travels with a loyal doughnut on his wrist. He also has an intense sweet tooth. In the autumn of 2015, a new 4- book series “Strawberry Dough: Season’s Sweetings” began with the “Autumn” book and is ending with “Summer” in June 2016.

And once the summer of 2015 hit, I completed the first book of “SolForce!” This series is based on the dozens of characters I’ve created dating back to pre-school. The stories are pure detective action comedy, following an ever-growing team of hotshot crime fighters from all across the globe (and beyond), as they band together to safeguard all of toonkind in the tropical mecca of Sunshine City USA from mad bio-engineers and/or their shadowy creations.

By the time “Strawberry Dough” and “SolForce” began making the rounds with me to numerous schools and book expos in New York City and the Bay Area, one thing became clear to me: The kids I met were deprived of art. To make matters even more endearing to me, so many of them have untapped potential as cartoon and comic creators in their own right. And much like me when I was a shy, skinny-as-a-twig elementary student, they simply want the adults in charge and even their own peers to take them seriously as growing artists!

This, folks, is the reason behind the campaign for Ausora! Ausora aims to serve as a workshop and small publishing outlet for the graphic novel projects my students and I create. What led me to believe that this idea can indeed work was simply viewing what a couple of groups were able to produce under my wing.

The first project at bat was “The Muji Story,” a 24- page black and white comic created by two of my highly dedicated (and wacky) fourth grade students Alice and Jenna.

Starting in the fall of 2016, I aim to work with students as both private and group lessons depending on the comic project they’d like to take on. Season to season, these projects will be collected into a compilation called “The Ausora Blender,” with winter being the first release. A temporary cover will be created for a campaign update. Inspired by the many creations of my 15 students from my Spring 2016 Cartooning class alongside Cartoon Network’s What-A-Cartoon! program from the 1990s, the reason for these compilations is to also view which comic projects would you, the reading audience and backers, would love to see a fully- made graphic novel project completed alongside the “Strawberry Dough,” “SolForce,” and “Muji” books! As you’ll see in the reward tiers, those with elementary and middle school students will have a chance to pitch their own comic ideas to me. This is an attempt to get as many fun and creative ideas into the “Blender” compilations and who knows, their ideas may turn into a small graphic novel too!

Then, of course, comes the use of funds. Simply put, the private classes and production and distribution of the books are key. The first 50% of the funding will contribute to the numerous classes I plan to teach starting in autumn. Classes will range from 4- 12 students. The next 25% will hit the points of printing, shipping and handling for each package. Thanks to my relationship with the following outlets, the well-to-do folks of Blurb and the Book Patch will handle all of the book printing, while Redbubble and Vistaprint will handle the posters, stickers, postcards and bookmarks respectively. The good news is that the completed graphic novels won’t take much time to print, since the PDF’s are all done! 15% will cover additional shipping costs covered through the various reward tiers, with 10% allocated for Kickstarter fees.

With Ausora, my students and I strive to provide a unique brand of entertainment for all ages for years to come. And all the while, we hope to empower artful youth who can’t wait to solidify all of the ideas in their big and brainy heads on paper with that new book smell. Thank you for considering backing and supporting this Kickstarter! I need you to help me and my students make this project a reality.

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