Late ‘SpongeBob’ creator got a big assist from N.J. illustrator

The creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, who died Monday at age 57, was aided in developing the hugely popular animated TV show by a New Jersey native.

Stephen Hillenburg first worked with Derek Drymon, a 1987 graduate of Jefferson Township High School, on the set of “Rocko’s Modern Life.” 


When Hillenburg launched SpongeBob in 1997, he brought Drymon, an illustrator who honed his skills at the famed Joe Kubert School in Dover before moving to Los Angeles. 

Drymon, in an interview conducted with the Daily Record at his childhood home in Jefferson in 2004, recounted the moment when Hillenburg first showed him a working sketch of SpongeBob.

“I remember thinking it was such a simple design, but one I had never seen before. Such a genius use of shape,” Drymon told the newspaper.

Drymon has not publicly commented on the death of Hillenburg, who was diagnosed last year with ALS.

Rob Jennings may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RobJenningsNJ. Find on Facebook.

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