`Sally Forth' Has New Artist

Fans of the cartoon strip "Sally Forth" may have thought something had gone wrong with their eyes. Beginning Monday, the faces just didn't look quite the same.

The eagle-eyed also may have noticed that where cartoonist Greg Howard had always written "Howard" into the frame of a panel, now it said "Howard and Mac."

Some readers immediately called The Times and complained. What happened and why?

Reached at his Minneapolis-area studio, Howard explained that he had hired an artist, Craig MacIntosh, an editorial cartoonist and illustrator for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, to take over the drawing of the strip.

"The reasons I decided to bring him on board were twofold: One was to raise the quality of the artwork to a level that I personally was unable to attain. The other was to give myself time to concentrate more on the writing.

"I'm basically just a writer who spent 10 years learning to draw on the job. I've continued to get criticism . . . People would say, `Gee, it's a nicely written strip; it's too bad you can't draw,' " he said.

"I wasn't fully prepared for the reaction. From my standpoint, I hope it's just the natural human reaction to change.

"We'll tinker with it until we get it right," he said.