young adult programs

Colorful Cartoons

Length of Program

90 minutes.

Program Description

Cartooning offers a way for teens to express themselves and can combine traditional art and the computer. In this program, teens will learn about the history and art of cartooning from guest speakers and will have opportunities to experiment with their own creativity using a variety of cartooning techniques.


Contact the art department at a local community college or newspaper graphics department to find an artist who can demonstrate cartooning techniques. Ask the person to talk about the history of comics in America. Cut out political cartoons from old newspapers so that teens can see examples of cartooning used to relay messages and opinion, as well as examples of comics used strictly for entertainment. Encourage teens to try their hand at cartooning. Artistic talent is not important—humor is! Advertise the program in a comic strip panel as shown in the illustration. Display books about cartooning and comics, ranging from Garfield to graphic novels.

Laugh @ the library. Something funny is going on at your library!


Decorate the room with ALA posters that feature comic book characters or check with a local comic book store for posters and decorations.


If your town does not have an artist who can work with the teens, invite a comic storeowner or collector to talk about collecting comics. Provide space for a comic book swap in the meeting room. Each teen is responsible for negotiating swaps but no money may change hands. Have some extra comics on hand to add to the swap.

Books to Display

  • Cartoonists by Bradley Steffens.
  • Cartoons and Animation by Ivan Bulloch.
  • Draw 50 Famous Cartoons by Lee J. Ames.
  • How to Draw Action: Dragon Ball Z by Michael Teitelbaum.
  • How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee.
  • Mecha Mania: How to Draw the Battling Robots, Cool Spaceships, and Military Vehicles of Japanese Anime by Christopher Hart.

Books to Booktalk

  • The Cartoonist by Betsy Byars.
  • Dreamwalker by Isobelle Carmody.
  • The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice by Allen Say.


Flip Books

Animation is based on the concepts that can be demonstrated through flipbooks. The illusion of motion is created by small changes that occur from frame to frame.

flip book with a running figure

  • 10-15 sheets of heavy paper
  • Binder clips
  • Colored pencils or pens
  • Scrap paper

Ask the teens to think about a simple picture, such as a piece of fruit, a stick figure, or a vehicle. Let them practice drawing the figure and then think about the action the figure will perform: a car moving, a piece of fruit being eaten, or a stick figure walking. They should sketch out the first action and the last action so that they know where they want the animation to begin and end. Then fill in the pictures in between. Each picture will be a little different from the previous one. Once the teen is satisfied, the pictures should be copied in sequence onto the stiff paper and colored with pencils or pens. Use the binder clip to hold all of the sheets together. Flip the sheets with your thumb to watch the action.

Group Activity

Laugh @ the Library

Provide sheets of poster size paper (27”x 34”), colored pencils, markers, stickers, etc. and encourage teens to design cartoons that provide a look at the humor of libraries, reading, or books. Display drawing books like How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee, Mecha Mania: How to Draw the Battling Robots, Cool Spaceships, and Military Vehicles of Japanese Anime by Christopher Hart and Draw 50 Famous Cartoons by Lee J. Ames. Post the funniest ones for everyone to enjoy. Let teens work together, if desired. Emphasize that artistic ability is not as important as a good sense of humor.

Bookmark library comics on the Internet or print them to display. Try Unshelved at These library humor strips can even be used on the library’s Web site if desired. Alex, the Librarian at is a librarian/cartoonist. Check out other library humor and help dispel the myth of Marian the Librarian at Lighter Side: Bibliozine, online at

Web Sites

Comics on the Web

Comics Price Guide

Imax Cyberworld 3-D Animation

United Media Comics

Audio Recording

Funny Papers by Elaine Scott.


Disney’s Magic Artist Studio.

Video to View

Animation for Kids. (12 minutes)

Videos to Display

  • Bambi Meets Godzilla and Other Weird Cartoons. (30 minutes)
  • Spider-Man. (121 minutes)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (104 minutes)


  • Comic Book Artist.
  • Comic Buyers Guide.

Professional Resources

  • Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner.
  • Getting Graphic!: Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens by Michele Gorman.


Texas Reading Club 2004 Programming Manual / Color Your World...Read!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011