Terri Libenson (pronounced LEE-bensun) is the cartoonist of the internationally syndicated comic strip, The Pajama Diaries. She was also an award-winning humorous card writer for American Greetings Corp. She has written for,, and

Terri graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BFA in illustration and a minor in art history. She developed her first comic strip, Got A Life, in 2000, which was distributed by King Features Weekly Service. The Pajama Diaries launched with King in 2006 and currently runs in hundreds of newspapers throughout the country and abroad. Pajama Diaries has been nominated four times for “Best Newspaper Strip” by the National Cartoonists Society. It won the coveted award in 2016.

Terri has three Pajama Diaries book collections: Deja To-Do, Having It All…And No Time To Do It, and Bat-Zilla. She is also the author of the best-selling illustrated middle grade novels by HarperCollins, Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy.

Born and raised in northeast PA, Terri lives with her husband and two daughters in Cleveland, OH.                                                                                                                      

Frequently Asked Questions about Terri and Pajama Diaries:

How long does it take to do a comic strip?

I don’t create one strip a day from start to finish. I like to make sure the content of an entire month’s worth of strips balances out. With that in mind, I’ll divide up each artistic process. I start off by writing about 40-50 strips in a week. I write more than I should so that I can weed out the weaker ones (or save ’em to publish if I get desperate for material).

I do all artwork on a digital drawing tablet, including the shading, coloring, and adding fonts (I hate my handwriting). All this takes about two weeks. Afterward, I email the strips for publication.

What’s your favorite part of the process?

I love working on the strips in Photoshop. It’s really relaxing. I’ll turn on Netflix or a podcast and just color. I feel like I’m in the third grade again.

I enjoy writing, too, but it’s much more intense. Once I get into a writing mode, it’s hard to turn it off. My poor kids will be demanding attention, and I’ll be thinking of punch lines in my head. That’s why I can’t suddenly switch gears from writing to illustrating during a typical day.

Are your characters based on you and your family?

My characters are originally based on us, but they’ve slowly evolved into their own personalities. In real life, I’m a little introverted. My husband is gregarious. The wife/husband characters are reversed – Jill is definitely more outgoing, and Rob’s the quiet one. Ways that we’re similar: Jill and I are both incredibly antsy, type A people. The character Rob and my husband are very practical, left-brain thinkers.

The child characters only partially mirror my own kids. I just take aspects of their lives/personalities and channel them on paper. PD is really about Jill rather than her kids (or her viewpoint of them), so I mainly focus on Jill’s interactions with them.

The Grandma character was inspired by my own grandma-in-law, but only from one aspect of her personality. In real life, she was a sweet individual, a constant worrier. The character, Grandma Sophie, was more of a pill. She liked to complain and pick on Jill a lot. My real grandma-in-law didn’t do that, but she did worry that I didn’t cook ten-course meals for my family.

Who is Perfectville derived from?

Perfectville is a conglomeration of different families I have secretly admired or envied even as I’ve proclaimed not wanting to be anything like ’em.

Where do you get your ideas?

I think this question really means: Where do you get your inspiration? In that case, I glean a lot of ideas from my family and friends. The strip is about a coping working mother, so the ideas come very naturally. My husband and friends have actually provided me with some very funny concepts, and my kids have unwittingly provided quite a few punch lines. I also read a ton, which helps.

I keep my phone or a pad of paper with me so that when the muse strikes, I can get down ideas before they disappear (which happens too often).

Where did the name “Pajama Diaries” come from?

Twofold: It stems from Jill working from home, which means she can theoretically work in her pj’s. I also think the name suggests an air of intimacy.

What are some things about you that most people don’t know?

When I was younger, I was a Star Wars fanatic. Yes, I fully admit this.

I once had a cat named “Bubbelah.” When I had to give her up due to my husband’s allergies, I gave her to a friend who shortened her name to “Bubbles” — thereby going from Jewish feline to stripper.

I minored in art history in college. It was accidental. I just took so many AH classes, I garnered enough credits to make it my minor. Also in college: I created my own cartoon independent study course. It was the first of its kind at the school.

I’m a neat freak. I’m not bragging, I actually consider it a sickness. The TV character I’m most similar to is Monica from “Friends”—but without the hyper-competitive streak.

I’m an avid runner. I enjoy nothing more than being outside listening to my playlist and the sound of my own wheezing breath. I also enjoy kick boxing, cycling, and hiking.

I’m creative, but I’m also analytical—which means I’ve probably gone over each strip ten times before it’s published (and still manage to offend people on occasion).

© 2006-2018 Terri Libenson, Dist. By King Features Syndicate, Inc.