|Is||Television producer Animator Screenwriter Actor Voice actor Artist Storyboard artist Film producer Film director|
|From||United States of America|
|Field||Arts Creativity Film, TV, Stage & Radio|
|Birth||23 September 1982, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA|
|Residence||Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA|
Ward Taylor Pendleton Johnston (born September 23, 1982), known professionally as Pendleton Ward, is an American animator, screenwriter, producer, director, and voice actor who has worked for Cartoon Network Studios, Frederator Studios, and Netflix Animation. He created the series Adventure Time, the Internet series Bravest Warriors, and the adult animated interview series The Midnight Gospel.
Ward grew up in San Antonio, Texas and resides in Los Angeles. His mother Bettie (born 1947) is an artist.
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. He graduated from North East School of the Arts in San Antonio.
Ward attended CalArts, where he became friends with J. G. Quintel and Alex Hirsch. They later worked on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack together. 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. Ward is a graduate of the school's Animation Program.
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, released in 2005 on Channel Frederator.
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. Created by Thurop Van Orman, Flapjack was a storyboard-driven show which allowed 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 (who became 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. Pen credits his experience with Flapjack and working under Orman's "fun factory" philosophy had a significant impact upon his own writing process.
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.
Ward released a short animation in support of LA Game Space that November, a project intending to build a games-focused exhibition space in Los Angeles. Ward announced development of a short game with Bennett Foddy entitled Cheque Please intended to be part of Experimental Game Pack 01, which the organisation released in 2013.
Sometime during the fifth season of Adventure Time, Ward abruptly stepped down as showrunner, 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 season six, and still served as an executive producer up until the series finale. In an interview with Indiewire prior to the debut of season seven, head writer Kent Osborne noted that Ward had stopped writing episode outlines at the beginning of season 7 but still looked over them and provided input.
In 2017, Ward was credited as "Story Consultant" for the current hard-cover adventure for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, 'Tomb of Annihilation'.
In 2019, Card of Darkness, an Apple Arcade exclusive game, was released with Ward serving as art director.
On March 16, 2020, a trailer was released for an adult animated Netflix original show The Midnight Gospel, co-created by Ward and Duncan Trussell. The plot reads, "Clancy is a space-caster who uses a multiverse simulator to interview beings living in other worlds." Eight episodes of the show were released on Netflix on April 20, 2020.
In 2021, Ward was credited with special thanks in the Double Fine-developed video game Psychonauts 2. Allegedly, Ward created an animatic that expressed interest in having the opening of the game be about a pregnant Raz, this can be seen in game in the level "Hollis' Hot Streak" where players are made to shoot a pen at a sign that spells out "Ward".
At the inaugural Children's and Family Emmy Awards ceremony held in 2022, Ward and colleagues received an Emmy for "Outstanding Directing for an Animated Program" (alongside Ako Castuera, Luis Grane, Elizabeth Ito, and Bob Logan) for their work in "City of Ghosts."
|2008–2009||Random! Cartoons||Director, storyboard artist and character designer|
Episodes: "Adventure Time", "Bravest Warriors" and "6 Monsters"
|2008–2009||The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack||Writer and storyboard artist|
|2010–2018||Adventure Time||Creator, writer, storyboard artist, co-producer (Seasons 1–2), executive producer (Seasons 3–10) and showrunner (Seasons 1–5)|
|2014||Over the Garden Wall||Writer and storyboard artist|
Episode: "Songs of the Dark Lantern"
|2015||Uncle Grandpa||Director, writer, storyboard artist and writer|
Episode: "Guest Directed Shorts"
|2018||Steven Universe||Storyboard artist|
|2020||The Midnight Gospel||Co-creator, director, writer, storyboard artist and executive producer|
|2020–2021||Adventure Time: Distant Lands||Creator|
|2021||City of Ghosts||Director and writer|
Episode: "Bob & Nancy"
|2022||Bee and PuppyCat||Writer|
Episode: "Gentle Touch" and "Funny Lying"
|2023||Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake||Creator|
|2014, 2016||Bee and PuppyCat||Animatic editor, voice director and writer|
Episodes: "Food" and "Toast"
|2007||Barrista||Director, writer and animator|
|2011||Pikapew Poop Chu||Director, Story, animatic and 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"|
|2010–2018||Adventure Time||Lumpy Space Princess / Shelby / Additional voices||85 episodes|
|2011||Pikapew Poop Chu||Ash / Brock||Short film|
|2012||Bravest Warriors||Computer||Episode: "Emotion Lord"|
|2014||Broken Age||Gus||Video Game|
|2015||Uncle Grandpa||Uncle Grandpa / Pizza Steve||Episode: "Guest Directed Shorts"|
|2016||The Simpsons||Couch Gag singer||Episode: "Monty Burns' Fleeing Circus"|
|2020–2021||Adventure Time: Distant Lands||Lumpy Space Princess / Additional voices||3 episodes|
|2023||Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake||Ellis P./Additional Voices||1 episode|
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 shows like The Ren & Stimpy Show, Beavis and Butt-Head, and The Simpsons. He would later go on to be a couch gag singer in the latter show's episode "Monty Burns' Fleeing Circus" in Season 28.