Pendleton Ward, Part 2: More From the ADVENTURE TIME Creator
Pendleton Ward Interview, Part 2
Our two-part interview with Pendleton Ward, creator of Cartoon Network's hit series Adventure Time, concludes today, with special guest questions from such pros as Scott Kurtz, Katie Cook, Chris Roberson and more. (Part one is here.) Keep reading for Ward's thoughts on how to create an animated show, his favorite comic books, and much, much more…
Newsarama: Pen, you were talking about how stoked you got about fan art earlier, and this next question comes from Jennifer Bennett, who does a custom plush toy service online at www.handmadestuffs.com, and has done a number of Adventure Time custom plushes.
Jennifer wants to ask about your feelings on what people are doing by taking things they see in the show and creating their own art and stuffed toys and such on them, that sort of DIY mentality.
Pendleton Ward: It's cool, man. I can't say it's anything but cool. It's illegal [laughs], but it's totally rad. I get a lot of emails from people asking, "Can you give me permission to make this?" Well, first of all, I don't own Adventure Time, so I couldn't give permission if I wanted to. So that's for everyone who's emailing me, because I can't write you back.
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Feb. 18.But I love bootleg stuff, I think it's rad. I remember at San Diego Comic-Con about three years or so ago, I made a bunch of bootleg shirts of the show – well, my friend made them off the drawing that I did – and I threw them out at the audience. They said – what was it? – "Bad Denture Rhyme," and it was Finn and Jake and they had whiskers and were cat people. Nrama: Here's one from Scott Kurtz, the creator of PvP. Scott writes, "Do you have any plans or desires to produce something independently on the web? And if so, can I be involved? The second part of that question is a little self-serving BUT, the first part I think is pretty valid." Ward: [Laughs.] Yeah, I do. I love making webcomics, and that's what I was gearing up to do when the show got picked up, independently publishing stuff on my website and selling it. www.buenothebear.com! That's still something I want to do — making comics on the Internet and having some kind of day job on the side to make money. (Newsarama note: It's since been announced Ward is doing a new web cartoon for Frederator called Bravest Warriors). Nrama: Here's one from my man Tommy Lee Edwards, who did Turf at Image with Jonathan Ross and helped design the film The Book of Eli, among many other projects. Tommy writes, "My kids watch and re-watch the Adventure Time episodes over and over, and like them all equally, though they both feel that the art gets better and better throughout time -- the character designs, the color, lighting, etc. Do you like evolving the art style as the show progresses? Do you think it's getting better? How is the artwork changing as the show develops? Is this a conscious thing, or more of a natural evolution?" Ward: The art style evolving is not a conscious thing, I think. Every storyboard artist draws the characters differently, and I like that, that everyone's a little different-looking and you can tell who drew what in each episode. The more people who work on the show, the more the style changes, and I think that's cool. It gives the show a handmade feeling, perhaps. Nrama: It is at a point where you can tell when a character or a background is Michael DeForge, because it's more detailed and intricate, or when a song is by Rebecca Sugar.
Ward: Yeah, exactly.Nrama: Here's one from Gronk cartoonist Katie Cook, who writes, "I'd love to know how one puts together a pitch for an animated series! Adventure Time is the fo'shizzle."
Ward: [Laughs.] Yeah, Bubblegum's made out of gum, so she could repair herself. As for my favorite character…Lollipop Girl. I think she's hot.Nrama: Jenny also asks, "Why does Finn's hat have little ears on the top of it?" Ward: When he was a baby, Finn went out into the woods and skinned a bear. Nrama: We're almost out of time, so a few quick bits. First, this isn't really a question, but we figured you'd appreciate it — Scott McCloud, author of Zot! and the Understanding Comics series of books, was one of the people we contacted for this, and he wrote in: "The first time I ever taught (a cartooning) workshop was at Minneapolis College of Art and Design about 10 years ago; and one of the very first students I had was a young cartoonist named... Pen Ward! He's a terrific artist. Say hi for me."
Stay tuned to Newsarama for more interviews with all-ages creators this week!Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!