November 15, 2008

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Sketchbook Diaries Year 1

Written by James Kochalka
Illustrated by James Kochalka
Top Shelf

A cartoonist chronicles his life over the course of a year with one four-panel strip a day. Think the box the Far Side used to use in the daily paper and you'll get an idea of the size.

Ranging from the silly to the scatological to the serious, Kochalka manages to sum up his life very well in just a few frames a day. He even mentions once how hard it is picking out one thing to highlight, how hard it was to keep up daily, and even some tough spots in his life--fighting with his wife, falling out with friends, and doubts about his career, to name just a few. The results are surprisingly entertaining and engaging, and I was happy to discover the fact that not only has he kept it up, but there are two volumes worth of work, including what I've already read here (October 1998-October 1999) and going on up to the early 21st Century. This book is a good place to start, to see if you like the concept. I think you will!