2004: The Erickson Tribune: The Man
Behind the Turtle
by Mary Thayer Haugen, Staff Writer
to Aford News Archives
Aaron Riddle wears many hats. He is a graphic
designer for Erickson and, among his other duties, he creates
the layout each month for The Erickson Tribune. He is also
the creator of Aford, a comic strip that appears five days
a week online and in a dozen newspapers including the Tribune.
In addition, Aaron maintains an award-winning website, www.afordturtle.com,
which is home to the online strip, and also offers drawing
tips and coloring pages for children.
Pretty impressive, especially when you consider that Aaron
is only 23 years old.
Young? Yes, but he’s been drawing since he was two. “My
parents used to put a big pad of paper on the floor and I’d
just draw all over it. From that point on, I drew all the time.
There wasn’t much else to entertain us out in the country
where I grew up,” Aaron explains.
“The first ‘real’ drawing I ever did was
of a turtle. My Mom still has it. I loved the comic strip Garfield
and read it all the time. I think that’s why I enjoy
“I started drawing comic strips by copying Garfield, except
I would substitute my own characters. I was about 10 years old
when I created Aford the turtle,” he says.
Let’s start with the name. “It’s embarrassing
to tell now, but I got the name by looking out the window.
I saw our Ford truck sitting there and I thought, “a
Ford . . . Aford!” I was 10 at the time, but the name
stuck,” Aaron says.
Aaron says he gets his ideas from everyday life and his own
experiences. Getting the ideas is the hard part. Once he decides
his subject, he can draw the strip in 30 minutes.
He has written about 600 Aford strips so far. “I just
started doing this on a regular basis in the last year. I had
kind of given up on it until I got to college and realized
I could post it on the Internet and it wouldn’t cost
me anything,” he says.
Of course his ultimate goal would be syndication, with Aford
running in Sunday papers all over the country. Aaron admits
the time may not be right for Aford to hit it big since comic
strips featuring computer themes are in demand right now, but
he’s content to wait.
In the meantime, you can keep up with Aford monthly in the
Tribune and online at www.afordturtle.com.