Shout-out: James Kochalka


A mural James painted at the Living/Learning Gallery in Vermont

James Kochalka is the Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont.  He has been drawing his daily diary comic strip American Elf since 1998.

Sample page from American Elf (sketch diaries)

Editor's note: It's fitting that when asked for an artist bio, James Kochalka sent the two sentences shown above. What I find most appealing about his artwork is his ability to simplify. The simplicity of his drawings belie the emotional impact he is able to impart. His range is also impressive. Sometimes he'll draw a crude gag, and sometimes a raw, emotional insight. 

Fancy Froglin's Sexy Forest!

I first discovered Kochalka through his Sketch Diaries. They used to be published each year, but they have since been retitled American Elf and are published in a larger format about every two years by Top Shelf (he's drawn a diary comic every day since 1988!). His brushwork inspired me to all but ditch the pens I was using at the time in favor of a brush, a practice I've continued to this day. 

Kochalka's output seemingly never slows. If anything, he constantly ventures into new territory. He's the lead singer of James Kochalka Superstar, has designed a video game (Glorkian Warror) with Pixeljam, painted countless tiny 2"x2" paintings for gallery shows (I've got one in my studio), drawn children's books (Squirrelly Gray is my daughter's favorite) and is currently working on an animated version of his SuperF*ckers series of books for Cartoon Hangover

Sample page from Johnny Boo
Sample page from Dragon Pucher
Sample page from SuperF*ckers

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