App of the Week: Comic Life

Title: Comic Life
Platform: iPad
Cost: $7.99

Some YALSA Blog readers might be familiar with the MAC and Windows software program Comic Life. It’s a program that makes it possible to create high-quality comics using a computer. Now it’s possible to create, fairly easily, high-quality comics via an iPad with Comic Life for iPad.

comic life template selectionThe first step in creating a comic using the Comic Life iPad app is to select a template. Creators can start with a blank template that doesn’t include a panel layout, or background, or heading, or thought bubbles. Or, it’s possible to start a new comic using one of the layout templates provided as a part of Comic Life. When starting a new Comic Life the number of layout template options is deceiving as there are just nine to choose from, not including the blank template. However, once an initial template is selected there are numerous panel layouts to select from and it’s possible to change the color scheme and a few other features of each comic template.

Once the layout is selected, comic creation begins. Images that are in the iPad photo library of the user can be added to the comic. A teen who has drawings or other images to add to a comic can sync those images from a computer to the iPad by setting up photo syncing between iTunes and the iPad. That way a teen’s own drawings or photos that might not start out on the iPad can be added to a comic.

Text can be added to the panels and it’s easy to change font families, colors, and sizes of components in order to fit specific comic needs. Panels can be re-arranged, images can be resized, and multiple text bubbles can be added to a comic page and specific panel. Pages can be added to a comic in order to create a multi-page book/novel.

options with Comic Life

For teens that are interested in creating their own comics, Comic Life for the iPad is a good option. It provides many of the same features as the MAC and Windows app but is portable and with sharing opportunities – email and Facebook posting – use of the app is likely to have even more appeal. There is also an option to share comics using the tray feature of the app. share options for comic lifeThis feature allows users to send comics across a wifi network. Teens that are on the same school or public library network can send their Comic Life creations to each other with a few clicks and drags and drops within the app. For teens who want to develop a comic together, perhaps one teen writing the text and another working on the images, this is a very useful option that allows for collaboration across a network.

While the Comic Life app is not free, it’s $7.99 price puts it in reach of many teens who want to produce comics or graphic novels. Being able to create while on the go with an iPad makes it a perfect app for creative teens who like to work on projects no matter where they are. It’s fairly inexpensive price tag also makes it a good option when looking for a holiday or birthday or other celebratory occasion gift for a teen.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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