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Pendleton Ward

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Pendleton Ward
Ward at the 2015 Peabody Awards
Ward at the 2015 Peabody Awards
BornWard Taylor Pendleton Johnston
(1982-07-08) July 8, 1982 (age 42)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Pen name
  • Pen Ward
  • buenothebear
  • Animator
  • writer
  • producer
  • director
  • voice actor
EducationCalArts (BFA)
GenreScience fantasy
Comedy drama
Years active2002–present
Notable worksAdventure Time
Bravest Warriors
The Midnight Gospel

Ward Taylor Pendleton Johnston (born July 8, 1982),[1] 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,[2] the Internet series Bravest Warriors, and the adult animated interview series The Midnight Gospel.[3]

Early life[edit]

Ward grew up in San Antonio, Texas and is the youngest of three brothers. Today he resides in Los Angeles. His mother Bettie (born 1947) is an artist.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6] Ward is a graduate of the school's Animation Program.[7]


In 2002–2003, Ward published a webcomic titled Bueno the Bear. He later took down the comics because he thought they were "terrible".[8] 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.[9]

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.[citation needed]

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; 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 Gravity Falls and develop Fish Hooks). Pen credits his experience with Flapjack and working under Orman's "fun factory" philosophy had a significant impact upon his own writing process.[10]

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.[citation needed]

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.[11][12] Ward announced development of a short game with Bennett Foddy entitled Cheque Please intended to be part of Experimental Game Pack 01, which the organization released in 2013.[13][14][15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

In 2017, Ward was credited as "Story Consultant" for the current hard-cover adventure for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, "Tomb of Annihilation".[citation needed]

In 2019, Card of Darkness, an Apple Arcade exclusive game, was released with Ward serving as art director.[citation needed]

On March 16, 2020, a trailer was released for the adult animated Netflix original show The Midnight Gospel,[18] co-created by Ward and comedian Duncan Trussell. The plot reads, "Clancy is a space-caster who uses a multiverse simulator to interview beings living in other worlds."[18] 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.[19] 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".[20]

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.[21]


Pendleton Ward television work
Year Title Role
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
Episode: "Familiar"
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
Pendleton Ward web series work
Year Title Role
2012–2013 Animation Pals Animator
2012–2018 Bravest Warriors Creator
2014, 2016 Bee and PuppyCat Animatic editor, voice director and writer[22]
Episodes: "Food" and "Toast"
Pendleton Ward short film work
Year Title Role
2007 Barrista Director, writer and animator
2011 Pikapew Poop Chu Director, Story, animatic and soundmixing
Pendleton Ward voice acting
Year Title Role Notes
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 / Abraham Lincoln / Additional voices 85 episodes
2011 Pikapew Poop Chu Ash / Brock Short film
2012 Bravest Warriors Computer Episode: "Emotion Lord"
2012–2013 Animation Pals Dr. Katz 6 episodes
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 5 episodes


Ward has previously stated that his friends, many of whom he works alongside on Adventure Time, are his biggest drawing and animating influences.[23] In another interview, he explained that he was influenced by shows like The Ren & Stimpy Show, Beavis and Butt-Head, and The Simpsons.[24] He would later go on to be a couch gag singer in the latter show's episode "Monty Burns' Fleeing Circus" in Season 28.

Personal life[edit]

Ward is known for his reclusive nature and has no spouse or children.[25]


  1. ^ "Ward Taylor Pendleto Johnston, Texas Birth Index". familysearch.org.
  2. ^ Weisman, Jon (August 14, 2013). "Emmy Wins Come Early for 'Adventure Time,' 'Portlandia,' 'Simpsons'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  3. ^ Sims, Chris. "'Adventure Time' Creator Pendleton Ward's Next Project, 'Bravest Warriors,' Looks Awesome Archived 2012-05-14 at the Wayback Machine and Flapjack". Comics Alliance. February 8, 2012.
  4. ^ "Bettie-Ward-Biography". www.anartegallery09.com. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016.
  5. ^ "San Antonio native created one of Cartoon Network's best shows". November 10, 2022.
  6. ^ Farago, Andrew. "Random Thoughts from Frederator Cartoonists Archived 2012-06-26 at the Wayback Machine". Animation World Network. Thursday January 29, 2009. Retrieved on July 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Pendleton Ward Bio". Turner. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  8. ^ Xerexes, Xaviar (June 17, 2008). "Catching Up With Pendleton Ward". Comix Talk. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  9. ^ Baisley, Sarah (October 31, 2005). "Frederator Studios Launches Channel Frederator for Cartoon Podcasts". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  10. ^ Lange, Ariane (September 15, 2014). "Inside The Marvelous Mind Of Thurop Van Orman". BuzzFeed. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  11. ^ "Support LA Game Space — Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time".
  12. ^ ""Adventure Time" Creator Needs Your Help with Games". Complex Networks.
  13. ^ "LA Game Space Kickstarter games now available for non-backers". Polygon. September 18, 2013.
  14. ^ "LA Game Space: Experimental Game Pack 01 - Windows".
  15. ^ "Archived copy". gamepacks.net. Archived from the original on July 21, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Strauss, Neil (October 2, 2014). "'Adventure Time': The Trippiest Show on Television". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  17. ^ Kohn, Eric (June 18, 2015). "Kent Osborne Explains the Crazy Logic Behind 'Uncle Kent 2' and the 'Adventure Time' Connection". Indiewire. Snagfilms. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  19. ^ "Psychonauts 2 Full Cast And Crew". IMDb.
  20. ^ "Psychonauts 2 Hides An Mpreg Secret By The Creator of Adventure Time". September 8, 2021.
  21. ^ Tinoco, Armando (December 11, 2022). "Children's & Family Emmys Complete Winners List: 'Heartstopper' Leads & 'The Baby-Sitters Club' Gets Recognition After Cancellation". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  22. ^ "Bee and PuppyCat (TV Series 2013– )". IMDb.com. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  23. ^ Ewalt, David. "It's Adventure Time! Pendleton Ward Talks About His Hit Cartoon". Forbes. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  24. ^ DeMott, Rick. "Time for Some Adventure with Pendleton Ward." Animation World Network. Sunday April 25, 2010. Retrieved on November 20, 2010.
  25. ^ Owens, Richard (August 15, 2019). "Who is Pendleton Ward Dating Now - Girlfriends & Biography (2023)". DatingCelebs. Retrieved December 23, 2023.

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