THE GUY THAT CREATED ADVENTURE TIME QUIT BECAUSE HE WAS TOO DOPE
Seriously, this guy is the shit. There may be no purer creator in the world than Pen Ward, and his recent interview with Rolling Stone just proves it. His show, Adventure Time, came from a lifetime of being an outsider, and the Outsider Art carries with it a purity in storytelling and even personal expression that few reach at all, much less to create a universe that is worth multi-millions in the real world and carries the undisputed title of trippiest show on TV…
The interview is full of some of the realest responses and anecdotes one could hope for, and to see the show continue in the last year since he stepped down only firms the fact that he is the shit, because he is still a writer and storyboard artist. Pen started on Cartoon Network’s Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack after some gigs here and there on Nickelodeon, because of the 7-minute pilot he posted to YouTube back in 2007 that racked up 3 million hits in a year.
But it’s the way he handles the success that sets him apart now that he has the most-loved cartoon on television. Pen is considering making an Adventure Time movie or video game, but with stipulations in place: “Whatever the next thing is, I just want my brain to be happy doing it.”
The success of the show, however, has barely changed Ward’s student lifestyle. Until last year, he continued to live in Burbank with four roommates. To meet his deadlines, he goes to coffee shops because, since he doesn’t like making eye contact with people, he’s forced to look down at his work. At meals and social events, he prefers to sketch rather than make conversation, describing drawing as “my baby blanket that I take with me everywhere.” And where many in L.A. meditate or do yoga, he says, “I go to comic shops because I like to just listen to nerds arguing about nerd stuff to relax.”
It’s this mentality that keeps it real. Pen states that “It’s nice to just be sleepy and make stuff. That’s the root of what I like doing. Make stuff on my own and fall asleep.“ In his latest piece this all comes through brilliantly. It’s a series of sketches called animationpals that is just whatever comes to mind, animated as the cutest darn thing you’ve ever laid eyes upon.