I usually almost always ignore these things, but Tim tagged me, and I really like Tim and don’t want to let him down, and lord knows I don’t have any NEW content, so:

Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written. But there is a catch:
Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are… what you’re all about.
Link 4 must be about something you love.
Link 5 can be about anything you choose.

Post your five links and then tag five other people.

These aren’t my “all-time” favorites, but they’re some decent ones. Here goes:



Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

My grandmother’s 80th birthday. A trip to Salem, Ohio. Family slides, deja vu, and memories of things that never happened.

Moments flickered on the edges of my sight that never happened. A life that was never lived. It was something like the opposite of deja vu: what I was seeing in front of me triggered memories that had never existed.



Sunday, October 16th, 2005

My buddy Nathaniel, who was going to UVA at the time, tells a great story about going to see Chan Marshall live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A few minutes later, she muttered something about the KKK, claimed she felt “this weird energy,” and literally RAN off stage.

james kochalka


Saturday, June 24th, 2006

The first post where I tried to articulate my thought that an artist’s job is to create his own “secret code.”

People talk about voice and style, and I have no clue what they’re talking about. “Find your voice!” they say. Screw that. I’m working on my secret code.

Other related posts:



Monday, October 1st, 2007

I really love drawing my wife. She’s the perfect model: she’s beautiful, she doesn’t complain, and she’s always around. This post has examples of other cartoonists drawing their significant others.

More drawings of my wife:

hawkline ep


Friday, July 27th, 2007

This was a really fun project to work on, and I think it gives a really accurate, honest portrait of how I work.

I tend to look at everything through the medium of collage: all we’re really doing with art is taking things that we’ve seen and making something we can call our own. Borrowing. Stealing. Mixing. We take the words we know and put them into sentences. We take the notes we know and put them into melodies. We take the experiences we have and shape them into stories.

Okay, I spent way too much time on that. This trip down memory lane is over (thank God). I guess I’ll tag Mark, Maureen, Darby, James, and Adam.


…the soundest advice is to be seeking always for the picture…”
—Paul McHenry Roberts, How To Say Nothing in 500 Words

I need to write in a visual way… for example, with cut-out words.
Julie Doucet

Once again, I have redesigned the blog. After talking smack about sidebars, I realized that, duh, they can be quite useful and add to the content—but only if they’re used in a dynamic way…if the content of the sidebar changes with whatever page you’re viewing. With the new design, you’ll notice that “meta” information appears in the sidebar next to the post. Making optimal use of the web browser’s real estate. (Can you tell I do web geekery for a living, now?) Clean white to remind me that it’s the actual content that makes a blog. No more lightning bolts or black.

Poke around, let me know what you think.



This weekend I started re-thinking how I blog and why I blog and whether I should be blogging at all. Here’s a snippet from an interview with Clive Thompson (his great blog is Collision Detection) that pretty much sums up my thoughts:

Some blogs exist solely for people who just surf all day long and they’re like, “Check this out, check this out, check this out.” They’ll post 20 things a day that are all one sentence long. And they’re really cool because they’re filtering the Internet for you. If you like their aesthetic, they’ll find things that are interesting and save you the work. They’re like a little concierge of culture and information.

Now I obviously like doing that, but I got busier when I went back to work, so I didn’t have as much time to blog. And I began to realize that what interested me more was posting about something that I’d discovered and no one else had. Or posting about something that other people were blogging about, but only if I had something interesting to say about it. So I blogged less frequently and I blogged longer little essays, things that were at least 500 words and sometimes up to 1000 words. Every posting became like a mini essay. And that’s the way I still write today.

…My goal is to find something thought provoking, offer people a new way to think about it, and let them check it out themselves. I sometimes just write something that I’m thinking about—there won’t be a link to anything, but that’s rare. Or if there’s something that’s really big on the blogosphere, I’ll try to find an unusual take on it.

I found a post from February where I wrote this: “I’m trying to make this thing as much like a virtual sketchbook/scrapbook/notebook as I can, and avoid the regular trappings of blogging…” What I found out though, is that I want two blogs: 1) the virtual sketchbook/notebook I was writing about and 2) the scrapbook where I just paste random crap from the web that I come across that is cool and interesting but doesn’t deserve much commentary.

So from now on, there will be a blog and a scrapblogtumblelog. Now, I’m going to quit messing around on the internet and go draw something that’s actually worth posting.


…when blogging seems stupid and pointless.

These days are usually sunny and bright.

Today is one of those days.


I’m trying to make this thing as much like a virtual sketchbook/scrapbook/notebook as I can, and avoid the regular trappings of blogging, like long link rolls and book reviews. (Even though I like those trappings on other blogs.) However, if you want that stuff, check out the del.icio.us and LibraryThing feeds on the sidebar.


Blogging, it turns out, is the CB radio of the Dave Eggers generation.

– from “You’ve Got Blog,” an article on blogging that ran six years ago in the New Yorker

* * *

It’s crunch time. I’ve got a synopsis that needs to come together within the next week, which means I’ve had to renew my relationship with Microsoft Word, which, let me tell you, does not make me happy. Summarizing with words a story told in pictures is NOT my idea of a good time…

But anyways, you probably won’t hear from me next week.

Be good.


Clive Thompson wrote a great article for CBC about how the Myspace/Google/bloggo culture is changing journalism. Here’s the meat:

…newspapers and broadcasts and magazines that open themselves up – that make it easy for the audience to pass them around and share them – will thrive. Those that close themselves off to the audience’s cut-and-paste culture will slowly die. Want proof? Compare the Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal. The Monitor has a hard copy circulation of barely 71,000, a pale shadow of the Journal’s mammoth two million readers. But online, the Monitor dominates: It is proportionately 377 times more frequently linked-to than the Journal. That means it enjoys proportionately far higher traffic, far higher online influence, and far more attention from search engines like Google.

How did the Monitor accrue this advantage? By being promiscuous. The Monitor leaves all its stories permanently online for free, while the Journal locks its behind a pay-to-see wall. Bloggers thus almost never link to Journal articles, while they love to link to Monitor articles. Because it makes itself so amenable to blogging culture, the Monitor taps into pass-around culture and these rolling cascades of popularity. (Granted, the Journal is undoubtedly assuming that what it loses in online audience it gains, financially, by having a more exclusive readership. But that’s no way to influence the world, when the world now lives online. And given the steady migration of advertising online, it may not even be the soundest financial ploy.)

So this is how journalists in the future will capture the protean attention-span of society: They’ll make it easy for the online world to engage with them.

I think the key here is generosity with your audience: the more online content you offer to your readers, the more brand loyalty you will build, the more product you will end up selling. It seems counter-intuitive, but really, sometimes giving things away for free can do worlds of good for your endeavors.

Online presence is everything, whether you’re peddling papers, comics, or burritos.



I don’t care much for opera. And I don’t know much about Richard Wagner, either. But I do know that back in 1849, Wagner was thinking a lot about opera and about art, and how to convey the human experience.

The Ancient Greeks got it all right with tragedy, he thought. A thousand years ago, all the art forms were fused together. Now, we’ve screwed it all up, and music, art, and theater are separated from each other! But Opera…Opera has the potential to fuse them all back together again…

So Dick started scribbling in his notebook, and came up with the essay, “The Art-work of the Future.” In it, he came up with a word, and the word was “gesamtkunstwerk.” (Like most German language, it sounds to me like a sneeze.) The word means something like “Total Artwork” or, “a synthesis of the arts.” Wagner was certain that the future of the arts was the integration of all forms, into something like a Mega-Opera.

Some people think that what Wagner was on to is what we now call multimedia. It’s safe to say that the dude was a little ahead of his time.

Matthew Barney might’ve gotten along with Wagner. I saw his CREMASTER CYCLE exhibit at the Guggenheim museum back when I was a sophomore in college. What Barney had done was make up a bunch of worlds out of sketches and sculpture and film. Some people called it a “gesamtkunstwerk.”

I like Barney because I think the greatest thing that an artist can do is create his own world: a place or geography that resembles the interior of his imagination, and all you have to do is drop in through one of his books or films or photos to get to it.

Yesterday I bought a DVD burner. Today I made a DVD of some home movies I’ve shot over the past couple years. With a DVD, and also with the internet, it’s so easy to fuse all kinds of art: film, literature, comics, music. I thought that maybe my goal shouldn’t be to put out a book at all, where I could only put words or a few drawings, but to put out a DVD or a website. Then you could drop in and see everything.