GREENFIELD — With a stack of thick Japanese comic books piled high beside him for inspiration, Jack Schwartz, 12, was hard at work designing his own comic book Tuesday at the Hancock County Public Library.
Using a tablet, Jack, a seventh-grader at Doe Creek Middle School, and other area youngsters spent Tuesday afternoon creating their own comic books on the computer.
The activity was part of a new instructional program for teens at the library.
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During the class, the teens prepare all the different elements of comic books, including creating graphics, designing characters, writing the storyline and laying out the pages.
The class has allowed Jack to enjoy comic books in a new way, he said.
“I like reading comic books a lot,” Jack said. “This is hard, but it is neat stuff to learn.”
Teen librarian Sarah Ryan is teaching the class; she’s helping the teens write and design their comic books through new technology via the Wacom digital drawing tablet.
In March, library officials purchased 10 new tablets with a $1,000 grant it received through the Young Adults Library Services Association.
The tablets were purchased for library patrons interested in graphic or comic book design, library officials said. Before the comic book class began in June, teens were using them during an open lab period.
Ryan, a fan of the Batman comic books, said because many artists are creating their own comic books online, officials decided a class teaching teens to do so was relevant.
Students participating in the class at the library will have their work published on the library’s blog for teens if they choose to share it with others.
“What they are making is completely their own,” Ryan said. “If they don’t want to share it, they don’t have to.”
Hunter Hall, 12, of New Palestine, has been making comic books on his own since he was 4, he said. A class giving him more direction on the art was exactly what he was looking for, Hunter said.
“We kind of have an old computer at home, so there is a lot more that I can do here on this computer than there is at home,” he said. “I can be much more creative.”
Huston Dowden, a sixth-grader at Brandywine Elementary School, and his cousin, John Dowden, a seventh-grader at Doe Creek, were having fun designing books together.
Huston said writing his own comic was difficult but also really enjoyable.
“My story is about a guy who gets some money and just goes his own way,” Huston said. “It’s really fun to make a story about his life.”
The comic book and animation clubs at the library are popular among preteens, Ryan said. Many participating in the clubs already were writing and drawing comic books in spiral notebooks. Introducing the class seemed like a no-brainer, she said.
“Knowing their interest, this is a great opportunity for them,” she said.
Any Hancock County resident may attend the comic book class for free. The group meets 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenfield branch, 900 W. McKenzie Road.
It’s also being offered at the Sugar Creek branch, 5087 U.S. 52 in New Palestine. Its next class is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. July 13.