Student volunteer creates his own comic books

A student volunteer at VisAbility has a hidden talent creating and producing comic books. Sixteen-year-old Thomas, who attends Christ Church Grammar School (link opens in new window) in Claremont, has been helping out in our Talking Book Library.

During his volunteering sessions, we’ve been learning more about his comic books, why they came about and what’s involved in producing them. Thomas has Juvenile Leighs Disease which affects his vision and impacts his physical abilities.

Luke Milton sits next to Thomas at a table. The two look through the comic books together.

Creating comic books

In 2018, Thomas was involved in an English project at school with other students to create a cartoon book called Power Man.

“The students were exploring vocabulary and language usage. They were investigating adjectives, verbs and compound sentences,” says the Peter Moyes Centre Co-ordinator, Amy Porter.

“His passion for comic books evolved from there,” she adds.

Thomas receives one-on-one reading lessons which allows him time to explore and to develop his own comic book series, the Hero League.

These two books focus on four siblings, Mike, Sarah, Dylan and Thea and their adventures.

These books are full of action, so there’s lots happening. They have different personalities, amazing super powers and run into all sorts of difficulties during their adventures.

Thomas – Volunteer Student

Bringing the superheroes to life

Christ Church Grammar School Library Assistant Luke Milton is a talented illustrator, as well as being a huge comic book fan. He helped to create the Power Man illustrations in 2018 and is now collaborating with Thomas on Hero League.

“I’ve always been passionate about comic books, so this project is perfect for me as I could share my enthusiasm with the students,” Luke explains.

Thomas is now learning more about Photoshop, a graphics software platform and is using this program independently to create his own illustrations.

“I like my characters to be bright and bold, so they are colourful. Mr Milton fine-tunes my artwork so at the end they look really look good.’’

Thomas – Volunteer Student

Volunteering at VisAbility

Thomas has been volunteering at the VisAbility Talking Book Library every Wednesday and has learned more about the work we do, providing talking books to people who are vision impaired and have a print disability.

Thomas wearing headphones sits in front of a computer screen. His fingers are on a keyboard
Thomas enjoys his time volunteering in our Talking Book Library

“I like listening to books and podcasts, so I thought I’d become a student volunteer in a library. I’ve been importing audio files, numbering, and producing them. The process of importing the audio files can take a while. During that time I’ve been able to work on my comic books,” Thomas explains.

Everyone’s been impressed at what our latest student volunteer is achieving, as VisAbility’s Digital Production Co-ordinator Vithya Vijayakumare explains.

Tom has been doing exceptionally well and he is a fast learner. With the help of his support worker Rebecca and training from myself, he has produced a number of books for our clients.

Vithya Vijayakumare – Digital Production Co-ordinator

“I am so proud of him and the Accessible Information Services Team are so glad to have had him as part of the library team.’’

Career in comic books?

His mum, Penny, says Thomas has enjoyed his time as a student volunteer in the library. She’s very proud of what he’s achieving.

“He’s meeting new people and discovering about different genres of books. It’s been a learning curve for him, but it has improved his confidence,’’ she says.

“My mum is my greatest fan, she’s proud of my work experience and the comic books,’’ Thomas explains.

“My twin sister is my harshest critique, I’ve picked up Photoshop, so I’d like to explore it further. I’d like to work in computer graphics.’’

Maybe one day VisAbility will be producing an audio book of the Hero League series, which would mean the story will have come full circle.

We have a large range of books in our Talking Book Library. We’re always on the lookout for more volunteers. Take a look at how you can volunteer in your spare time.