St. Helena Branch offers day of workshops, costumes and fun for area comic and manga fans

Calling all comic and manga fans -- the St. Helena Branch Library is gearing up for its second annual GraphiCon event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 29 at 6355 Jonathan Francis Senior Road.

Comic books have helped shape American culture since the 1930s. Graphic novels have become such a hot genre over the past 10 years -- "geek" is becoming "chic," meaning the trend is clearly here to stay. GraphiCon is a fun, all-day program to celebrate this love of graphic novels with drawing, digital coloring, cosplay (costumes), book talk, movie and bento box workshops.

Are you a budding artist or would you like to learn more about what it takes to become a comic illustrator? There will be special workshops at the St. Helena Branch Library.

Character design is one of the most important starting points when it comes to comics and manga, a form of comic book that was created in Japan. Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to test their strengths with a professional in this field in a fun, new way, using music as inspiration.

When it comes to coloring comics, the pros use Wacom drawing tablets in Adobe Photoshop. Workshop participants will be able to get a taste of the "real world" using our Mac Media Lab, fully loaded with state-of-the-art professional equipment, during the Digital Coloring Workshop. If you want to continue your cartooning skills after the workshops, the St. Helena Branch Library offers 101 Top Tips from Professional Manga Artists by Sonia Leong. Learn the drawing basics of creating manga books and so much more from Leong and other experts.

Perhaps you're more into the graphic novels/manga for the story: GraphiCon has something for you too. Book talks will take place in our teen lounge with fellow teenage fans and special guests, including a local Beaufort County comic shop owner. Attendees may learn a thing or two about their favorite manga series while discovering plot twists during these discussions.

For the ultimate otaku (anime/manga fan), GraphiCon will include a Bento Box Lunch workshop and cosplay contest. Play with your food in a brand new way. The Bento Box Lunch workshop will provide basic food handling/carving tools with traditional Japanese cuisine, and students will be instructed by a professional on how to turn their food into a work of art.

If you are interested in making your own food art, the St. Helena Island library offers Cool Fruit and Veggie Food Art: Easy Recipes That Make Food Fun to Eat by Nancy Tuminelly. This fun book provides step-by-step instructions, cooking terms and techniques that will entice even the youngest chef.

Comic fanatics will also enjoy the comic convention/cosplay 101 workshops, in which fellow teens will demonstrate easy, no-sew techniques for creating the best character costumes for Halloween and beyond. In addition, a cosplay contest will be held with prizes.

Whether you are a comics and manga expert or are just getting into this genre, GraphiCon is the place to be. This free event is open to all ages. Come out and explore what the St. Helena Branch Library has to offer.

Melanie Florencio is the Computer Lab Instructor at the St. Helena Branch Library.

Original story at the Island Packet