The Return of the Band

September 23rd, 2016

After nearly five years away from the stage, the band is, as they say, back together. We played our first show in Omaha,  in 1998. Since then, Prairie Cats have performed at SXSW, the now-defunct Derby Lounge in Hollywood, and Windows on the World at the World Trade Center. Last night, while gazing out at the audience, I was reminded once again, how lucky we’ve been to have met so many great people, many of whom have been with us since the start. Yes, there’s magic in the notes we play as a band, but there’s also magic on the dance floor…and as far as I’m concerned, I always have the best view in the house.

Deep Dark Truthful Dog

January 29th, 2015

A while back I outed myself as the guy behind the dog—a dog who just happens to be a cartoonist. As a cartoonist—human or otherwise— one recent project I’m especially proud of, is this music video I worked on for the talented Gail George:

The song is part of the new CD, Beyond Belief: A Tribute to Elvis Costello.

For background on how our collaboration came about, including the original photos used as inspiration for Petey’s drawings, check out Gail’s blog post here.

My Life as a Dog

November 20th, 2014

It’s time you knew. I’ve been going around masquerading as a dog. A dog who draws dogs. Cats, too.

Ten years ago my good friend, Bill Johnson, came to me with an idea for a comic…how about human-acting dogs and cats living together in New York? Bill had recently moved from Omaha to the Big Apple and he would often call me as he walked around the city, giving me a play-by-play of what he was seeing and hearing in his East Village neighborhood. His quirky, and often hilarious, observations made me feel as though I, too, were experiencing life in the East Village. Never mind that I was in Nebraska.

alt="koterba Petey Sokol dog"

Petey Sokol ponders his next cartoon.


There’s much more of this story to be told, and perhaps one day I’ll share it. But for now, I thought you might enjoy a few samples from the drawing table of yours truly…I mean, from the sketchbook of Petey Sokol…

alt="Koterba Petey cat"

A guy can dream, can’t he?


alt="Koterba moon skateboard dog"

Moonboarding in the city…


For more drawings by “Petey” check out his Instagram here (Instagram account not required).


Baby Steps and Giant Leaps

November 14th, 2014

Some days I feel lucky to have just one good idea on the drawing board. Other days, I’m blessed with an embarrassment of riches. The spectacular Rosetta mission inspired a wealth of ideas, but I only get to draw one for each day’s editorial page. At first I was thinking about this concept:alt="Koterba Rosetta"


I had drawn those two aliens before, in August of this year, and was thinking the above cartoon might make for a fun companion to the first:

alt=Koterba comet"


But perhaps revisiting those two aliens would have been a baby step. I needed to say something bolder. As much as I adore NASA‘s accomplishments, it was the European Space Agency that landed a probe on a comet, not NASA (although, yes, NASA did contribute to the mission). It’s not that NASA hasn’t made great strides in recent years, but…where are the giant leaps? Here’s the cartoon I went with…

alt="Koterba NASA comet"

Rough Sketch Roundup

November 3rd, 2014

Sometimes I find the initial rough sketch more pleasing than the inked drawing…here are a few of my favorites from the last few weeks…


alt="koterba sketch Renee Zellweger"

alt="Koterba cartoon Ebola flu enterovirus"

alt="Koterba working women frozen eggs"

alt="Koterba Ebola plane drawing"For more on my creative process, check out my new collection of cartoons, Drawing You In.

It Was a Dark and Sketchy Night…

October 31st, 2014

Here’s today’s Halloween cartoon. Along with a few bonus features…enjoy!

First came the rough sketches (scary, right?)…

alt="Koterba Halloween sketch"

alt="Koterba campaign sketc"


Next up, the black and white inked drawing…

alt="Koterba drawing"

And finally…the color version…

alt="Jeff Koterba color campaign cartoon"

Here, also, is a sketch of a cartoon I came up with a few weeks ago but never got around to finishing…

alt="Koterba cartoon ebola Halloween constume"

Want to learn more about my creative process? Check out my new cartoon book, Drawing You In, available here!

Behind the Lines: Space Dogs

October 30th, 2014

Today I’m starting a new feature where I’ll occasionally pull back the curtain (just a little) on my creative process…

When drawing an editorial cartoon I always start out with a rough sketch…

Koterba rough sketchKoterba sketchKoterba sketchKoterba sketch

Koterba sketch

Next, I redraw the cartoon on heavy-stock paper…

alt="Koterba pencil drawing"

I wasn’t happy with the way the drawing was going, so I began again. I like contrast so I made the dog on the right even smaller and inked it in…

Koterba cartoon

Finally, I made a copy of the black and white version of the cartoon and painted it in, using old-fashioned watercolors…

alt="Color Koterba cartoon"

For more on my creative process, check out my new book, Drawing You In, available here.

Scan 154Scan 154








Unearthing Uncle Sam

September 10th, 2014

In the introduction for my new cartoon collection, I mention a drawing I made in high school (1979), one that I had come up with for an Omaha World-Herald contest. I hadn’t seen the cartoon in many years, but from what I could recall, the drawing wasn’t half-bad—at least for a high school effort. Still, for reasons I explain in Koterba: Drawing You In, the cartoon didn’t win the contest. To my surprise, however, the editors for Drawing You In thought it would be great to include that drawing in the book. Finally, that ancient cartoon would make it into print! Only problem was, I didn’t have the drawing. And as far as I knew, the cartoon was possibly buried in a plastic bin, deep inside a storage unit I share with a relative.

alt="Koterba cartoon"

We were met by a wall of storage containers…


That’s where my friend and fellow artist, Bruce Arant, comes in. It was on a hot and humid June morning in Omaha that Bruce agreed to join me on an archeological dig.

alt="Bruce Arant, Koterba cartoon"

Fellow artist, Bruce Arant, braves a sweltering morning to search for a lost Koterba drawing…


Bruce and I went through bin after bin. Although I didn’t have as much as a copy to show Bruce what he was looking for, I described it the best I could: “I’m pretty sure it’s Uncle Sam juggling eggs…I think some of the corners of the paper are dog-eared. The ink might be faded.” Our search continued.

alt="Koterba cartoon"

I wasn’t about to give up…


After a couple of hours into our quest, we were down to a few final bins. It wasn’t until I’d dug into the very bottom of the last bin, that I came across the weathered and haggard Uncle Sam…

alt="koterba cartoon, Uncle Sam"

Still juggling after all these years…


For the full story on this, insight into my creative process, not to mention dozens of full-color cartoons, please check out Koterba: Drawing You In, available now.

Discovering what I think

August 25th, 2014

Joan Didion said: “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” And before her, Flannery O’Connor said essentially the same thing: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

The same could be said for coming up with cartoon ideas. And also for coming up with answers during interviews. Recently, I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Michael Lang, who along with Corey Hart of Single Source, filmed and edited this mini-doc/interview. Mike asked great questions, which is to say, he got me to open up and say things I didn’t always know that I knew. In my book, the sign of a great interview is when, as the subject of the interview, you learn a little something about yourself.

Cartoonist Jeffrey Koterba from Spectral Chemist on Vimeo.

Anniversaries and Airliners

July 25th, 2014

This weekend marks my twenty-fifth anniversary as the editorial cartoonist for the Omaha World-Herald. I had free-lanced as a cartoonist before, for the World-Herald, and for other newspapers. But to take on the task full-time, drawing six cartoons a week? In those deadline-free weeks leading up to my first day on the job, my nerves were getting the best of me. How could I possibly draw a new cartoon every day? For that matter, was I even going to be able to come up with one cartoon? Maybe I was in over my head.

Six days before starting the job, United Flight 232 crash-landed in Sioux City, Iowa. The crash killed 112 of the 296 on board. The story of Flight 232 was big news, of course. And while a big part of my job is to poke fun and criticize, I decided to take an upbeat approach for my first effort.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 8.42.40 AM

The drawing leaves much to be desired. But it’s the message of the cartoon that still rings true for me. Often, when I fly, or when I draw airplanes, I think back to that first cartoon. I thought about it on September 11th, and I thought of it again, just the other day, after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

I’d like to believe that over the years my drawings have improved. But this time around, when commenting on an air disaster of a different nature, I found myself, unfortunately, focusing on non-heroes.



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