This week we used the Swing and AWT packages for building event-driven GUIs and ultimately a card game. I think that coding the Swing elements in Java would be more difficult compared to some other languages for the same reasons that Java is generally more challenging -- the syntax and implementation requirements, for example, using the correct operators or declarations and implementing the right interfaces. Passing in objects as arguments to methods can also be challenging in implementation, as well as choosing the right layout.
It makes sense to learn to code through the console first because it's helpful for debugging. Also, seeing the results print to the console helps one make certain there aren't logical errors. Interactions through a GUI can come along afterward.