When I first recruited Paul Southworth to draw Not Invented Here two and a half years ago, I knew it wouldn't be a forever thing. He is one of the most creative people I know, a veritable font of hilarious and/or bizarre ideas, and there was zero chance that he'd be happy to just illustrate software humor for the rest of his life. Well, he'd been getting increasingly itchy of late, and if you love someone set them free blah blah blah. Long story short, Paul is finishing up the current "Owen's Secret Origin" sequence, after which he will no longer draw Not Invented Here. That's the bad news.
The good news is, Paul's going to stick around as co-writer. He's not a software guy, true, but he loves Owen, Desmond, and company, and the strip just wouldn't be the same without his unique brand of neurotic slapstick.
The other good news is, the two of us have spent the last few weeks searching for a new artist, and today we're thrilled to announce that it's Jeff Zugale. Jeff is an extremely talented illustrator who does storyboard and concept art for Big Important Clients. The nerds among you will recognize him as the artist of Clash of the Geeks and the Fuzzy Nation prototype cover. His cartooning is equally awesome. Already his work has inspired envy on Paul's part and made me laugh out loud more than once.
I won't lie - artist changes are quite traumatic, no matter the level of talent involved. Jeff won't try to mimic Paul's style, which is probably impossible anyway. That means we'll all have to try to find our favorite characters hidden in his new, unfamiliar lines. I've done a couple of bouts as our "guest" artist, and they caused no end of complaints. So I know that it will be uncomfortable for a while. I also know that some of you were just here for Paul's art. We hope you'll all give the new NIH a shot, but if not we thank you for your attention. Make sure you buy the book on the way out, as a keepsake of our time together.
Over the next few weeks we plan to show you some of Jeff's character design evolution, and I'm hoping we can get him to blog a bit about his artistic process. Meanwhile enjoy the final days of what I guess we'll now be calling The Southworth Years.
P.S. We'll be sure to tell you about Paul's next project!