Pendleton "Pen" Ward (born July 8, 1982) is an American animator, screenwriter, producer, and voice actor who works for Cartoon Network Studios and Frederator Studios. He created the Emmy Award-winning series Adventure Time (2010) and the internet series Bravest Warriors (2012). Ward is a graduate of the CalArts Animation Program. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Ward became interested in animation at an early age, inspired by his mother, who is an artist and worked with animators. He started drawing flipbooks in first grade. He often worked with his best friend, Alec "The Logdog" Coates, on short comic books.
Ward attended CalArts, where he became friends with J. G. Quintel and Alex Hirsch. They later worked on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack together. In 2009 Quintel went on to create Regular Show, and Hirsch went on to create Gravity Falls. Eric Homan, vice president of Frederator Studios, offered Ward a job at the studios after watching one of his films at the annual CalArts animation screenings.
In 2002–2003, Ward published a webcomic titled Bueno the Bear. He later took down the comics because he thought they were "terrible". However, he retains the name "buenothebear" for his website and his handle on sites such as Twitter. Ward created a student film titled Barrista, starring Bueno the Bear that was later released by Frederator Studios.
Ward continued to work on short animations for Frederator's Random! Cartoons, which aired on the Nicktoons Network. There he worked with several people who would later join him on the Adventure Time series, including composer Casey James Basichis, Adam Muto and Niki Yang, many of whom had attended the California Institute of the Arts alongside Pen. His two shorts were The Bravest Warriors and the Adventure Time animated short. The Adventure Time short was made in 2006 and went on to become an internet phenomenon in 2007, with over a million views by November of that year. Ward initially pitched Adventure Time to Nickelodeon, but was rejected. It also took some time before Cartoon Network decided to pick it up.
In 2007, Ward was hired to work on the first season of Cartoon Network's The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack as a writer and storyboard artist. Flapjack was a storyboard-driven show, allowing the storyboard artists to write all the dialogue and draw all the action based on an outline assigned to them. The artists each worked in pairs, and during his time on Flapjack Ward was partnered up with Mike Roth (formerly the supervising producer of Regular Show) and later Alex Hirsch, who has since gone on to create the show Gravity Falls and develop Fish Hooks for Disney Channel. The experience inspired Pen to approach Adventure Time the same way once it was picked up as a series.
In 2012, Frederator Studios developed Bravest Warriors and turned it into a web series for the relaunch of Cartoon Hangover, however Ward has little involvement in the series. Former Adventure Time lead designer Phil Rynda worked on the redesigns of the characters for the series. The series premiered during the fall of 2012 through Cartoon Hangover's YouTube channel alongside a comic book series of the same name by Boom! Studios.
Sometime, during the 5th season of Adventure Time, Ward abruptly stepped down from running the show, explaining it was negatively affecting his "quality of life". In the October 2, 2014 edition of the Rolling Stone magazine, Ward stated "I quit because it was driving me nuts". However, he continued to work as one of the show's writers and storyboard artists until the end of the season six, and he still serves as an executive producer. In an interview with Indiewire prior to the debut of season seven, head writer Kent Osborne noted that Ward stopped writing episode outlines at the beginning of season 7, but still looks over them and provides input as he is focusing on an Adventure Time movie.
|2008–2009||Random! Cartoons||Storyboard artist, character designer, director|
|2008–2009||The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack||Writer, storyboard artist|
|2010–present||Adventure Time||Creator, story, writer (seasons 1–8), storyboard artist, producer (seasons 1–2), executive producer (seasons 3-present), showrunner (seasons 1–5)|
|2014||Over the Garden Wall||Writer, storyboard artist
Episode: "Songs of the Dark Lantern"
|2015||Uncle Grandpa||Director, writer, storyboard artist, story
Episode: "Guest Directed Shorts"
|2016||The Simpsons||Singer (Adventure Time couch gag)
Episode: "Monty Burns' Fleeing Circus"
|2013||I Know That Voice||Himself|
|TBA||Adventure Time||Creator, Executive Producer and Writer|
|2012-present||Animation Pals||Co-Creator, voice of Dr. Katz|
|2012–present||Bravest Warriors||Creator, voice of Computer|
|2014–present||Bee and PuppyCat||Animatic editor, voice director, director|
|2012||Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!||Writer|
|2013||Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know!||Writer|
|2014||Little Pink Best Buds||Writer, artist|
|2014||Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom||Creator|
|2015||The Magpie Collection||Character designer|
|2011||Pikapew Poop Chu||Story, animatic, soundmixing|
|2007||Barrista||Bueno the Bear / Sasha||Short film|
|2008||Random! Cartoons||Abraham Lincoln / Old Man||Episode: "Adventure Time"|
|2009||The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack||Rower #1 / Sail Boss||Episode: "Ben Boozled"|
|2010–present||Adventure Time||Lumpy Space Princess / Shelby / Additional voices||58 episodes|
|2011||Pikapew Poop Chu||Ash / Brock||Short film|
|2012||Bravest Warriors||Computer||Episode: "Emotion Lord"|
|2013||I Know That Voice||Himself||Documentary|
|2014||Broken Age||Gus||Video Game|
|2015||Uncle Grandpa||Uncle Grandpa / Pizza Steve||Episode: "Guest Directed Shorts"|
Ward has previously stated that his friends, many of whom he works alongside on Adventure Time, are his biggest drawing and animating influences. In another interview, he explained that he was influenced by The Simpsons.