Friday, March 1, 2013

3 YEARS OF AN ADVENTURE (An Epilogue...sort of) - by Joseph Game


Wow, it seems like yesterday that I embarked on this adventure called "Adventure Time." I've worked on five seasons of the sweetest / post-apocalyptic cartoon ever! What can I say, my experience of working on “Adventure Time” has been nothing more than amazing. I’ve learned & grown so much in the past three years that I want to share some of my favorite moments working on this magical show.


Before I began my actual journey with Adventure Time, I was just a fan of the original pilot (see video above), which I saw my senior year of art school (2007 University of the Arts, Philadelphia). Below is the first fan-art drawing I did of Finn punching the Ice King, titled "My hat is awesome!"

 The Adventure Time pilot was HUGE on the internet and it was already gathering a fan base, especially when I saw this first fan-art by Lysol Jones around that time-frame. 

And so about two years went by and as I got laid off my graphic design job (2009), I began focusing in getting back to the animation industry. Mostly because of the amazing experience I had in my 2006 Cartoon Network internship (see video below) and my love for the animation medium.


Sometime in that time period, while doing art shows and freelance Illustration, I found out Adventure Time had been picked up to be made into a full series by Cartoon Network. My excitement went through the roof and my immediate reaction was to A) Draw something Adventure Time related for my portfolio and B) Contact anybody I still knew at Cartoon Network about possible job opportunities on the show. Little did I know that the crew I had worked for during my CN internship in 2006, was the same crew behind Adventure Time. And by same crew I mean: Kelly Crews, Dick Grunert, Alex Campos, Mike Collins, Oliver Akuin.

Out of my excitement I drew this (illustration above) and I started contacting anyone that was affiliated with the production of the show. On November 2nd, 2009 I got a call from Kelly Crews, the amazing Producer on AT (thanks to Dick & Mike for putting in a good word for me), and asked me if I would be interested in a Production Assistant position and if I could be out in California in two weeks?....Of course I said YES!

Below is my first e-mail to Adventure Time creator, Pendleton Ward.

And on November 16th I began my journey into the world and SEASON 1 of Adventure Time.


Below is a collection of pictures and brief descriptions of my first year on Adventure Time.

Right outside the studio on my first week of work.

My name sign outside my first office on the second floor.

A video summary of the very first Adventure Time tribute art show curated by me, held at Cartoon Network Studios (before the show even premiered). This is one of my proudest moments while working on Adventure Time. I knew from the very beginning the show was a gem and I asked a bunch of my artists friends from The Autumn Society to join me in doing some tributes. Some of the artists were already huge fans of the pilot as well.

Above is a photo set on Frederator's Flickr that featured all of the Adventure Time tributes done by my friends in the Autumn Society. The gallery still exits and you can check them all out here:

I also wrote on the frederator blog for a bit to promote the premiere of the show:

In April 2010, Adventure Time premiered and as we all know it has become one of the most popular cartoons shows ever on TV.


Myself with a plush Finn (hand-made by Skyler Page).

As production for season two was underway, the hype for the show was getting bigger and bigger and a second art show was held at Gallery Nucleus in April of 2011.

Above is my second illustration tribute to Adventure Time of Finn acquiring the legendary rainbow prism sword!

 A video of the Gallery Nucleus show premiere (above) by Jonathan Bilski (from Things to do in LA).

Some of my art pieces for the show.

Me documenting Pen while he drew and signed for a huge line of fans.

The Crowd at the art show!

 Posing with some rad AT fans!

My first tribute of Adventure Time displayed at the show.

Between 2010 and 2011 time flew as we began wrapping up Season 3. The entire Adventure Time crew took part in decorating the Season 3 cake (photo above).

And towards the end of year two, Adventure Time turned 100!...100 episodes that is. Above is a photo of the entire crew celebrating. I'm the very back with my hands in the air.

As the second year rolled by, one of the coolest and nicest things to happen every year was when everyone from the production would bombard your desk with birthday decorations. Above is one of my favorite decoration celebration bombardments. A mix of my love for 80s cartoons and lots of balloons. Courtesy of Kelly Crews & Keith Mack.


Plush Finn (by Skyler Page) and I hive-five-ing it!

As year three began, Adventure Time was now completing its fourth season. And a third art show was underway at Gallery Nucleus (

Below is my third tribute to Adventure Time. Finn & Jake versus the King Worm!

Me posing with my piece at the premiere of the show.

Two brothers dressed as Finn at the show!

A hardcore fan dressed up as Finn from the episode "No one can hear you."

A Finn-pirate design (titled "Treehouse Pirate") I did on a limited run of t-shirts.


Sometime in the summer of 2012 I got an e-mail from a Spanish artist by the name of Javier Jimenez, who wanted me to participate & attend a comic-convention in Granada, Spain called FicZone. In this event Javier wanted to have me talk about my experience and what I did on Adventure Time. I was thrilled by the idea and a couple of months later it was approved for me to officially represent Adventure Time and go to Spain (Thanks to Kelly Crews & Brooke Keesling)! During this time period I also became Production Coordinator of Adventure Time and was responsible for shipping all black & white design and color to overseas animation studios.

As my trip to Spain grew closer Javier asked me to do a special poster & art to promote my attendance at FicZone. In response to that request I drew my fourth Adventure Time illustration (above) paying tribute to the original pilot and Finn & Jake's "Ice Kingdom" outfits. Along with presenting and speaking at the event, a fourth Adventure Time art show was put together in the convention space, featuring the Autumn Society and spanish artists! This was the first time I was able to combine my Adventure Time experience with my experience as a gallery curator outside Cartoon Network Studios.

Above is a signed print and myself signing prints at FicZone.

My illustration above used for the FicZone event poster "Domingo de Aventuras"

Posing with some super rad Adventure Time fans!

Illustrator & good friend, Pakoto Martinez posing inside the Adventure Time art gallery on display at FicZone.

Pakoto Martinez, Javier Jimenez, Rafa Toro, Beatriz Iglesias, and I posing in front of the Adventure Time art show in Granada, Spain. Amazing people and super talented artists!

Perhaps one of the most memorable moments during my time in Spain was getting to meet a childhood hero and animation director Shinichirō Watanabe (mostly known for Cowboy Bebop). Also in the picture is the great Nacho Cabrero Barragán, who was also responsible and made it possible for me to attend FicZone.

In front of the FicZone banner.

More amazing Adventure Time fans!

Drawing a Finn & Jake sketch for fan in my illustration (chogrin) style.

The completed sketch.

Sketch & Artist

An amazing Rainicorn papier-mâché built just for the FicZone event!


Cartoon Network turned 20 years old!

AT Crew picture 2012

My three year anniversary plaque from Turner. Three years on Adventure Time were officially official.

Pen cutting his "BMO" cake for his 30th birthday.

Another shot of the amazing "BMO" cake, sent to be made by the amazing Kelly Crews.


As I am writing this, I could just go on and on about the positive / life-changing experience I've had on Adventure Time or what my favorite episodes are (which are any that have to do with a day at the treehouse, dungeons, or alternate dimensions). But really it has been about the wonderful memories and friendships I've made along the way. Below are pictures of the people I've had the pleasure of working with over the years, as well as the people that have helped & supported me through my adventurous journey.

Patrick Seery. My other fellow "production assistant" for almost three years. Patrick and I battled many meetings and other productions tasks together during season 1 of Adventure Time.

Mack Attack (Keith Mack). Keith was my production manager for three years. During those years I enjoyed various conversations of robot Toys, big kaiju battles, and 70s anime with Keith.

Dick Grunert. Dick taught me everything I know in production and also helped me develop my love for horror movies. Dick is also a great writer! More importantly Dick was one of the reasons I got my job on Adventure Time. Thanks again for putting in the good word sir! Side note: In the picture above, Dick is wearing my Ghostbusters inspired shirt with Pen making a special appearance in the background.

Alex Campos, Maria Vitan, Susy Campos, and Oliver Akuin. You guys rock!

With the amazing Andy Flexner & Tammy List. Together we put together an art show fundraiser for the Wildlife Learning Center. These are GREAT and always find a way to make me laugh. :)

With Scott Malchus (Production Coordinator & Production Manager on Adventure Time), a truly amazing person and friend that I've had the pleasure of working and collaborating with. Here we are posing with Scott's personal & heartfelt book, "Basement Songs," which I had the privilege of designing the book cover for. You can check out the book here: (100% of the profits from the sale of BASEMENT SONGS will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.)

Here I am with the amazing, the sparkling, the one and only Kelly Crews! I can't say enough amazing things about Kelly. She has simply been the best boss and producer one could ever ask for, as well as a mentor and a cheerleader to anything I do. She is one of the biggest reason my experience on Adventure Time will be unforgettable. Thank-you Kelly! You're the best!

Nick Jennings (Art Director). Nick has been a mentor, a friend, and a voice of reason throughout my time on Adventure Time. One of the most amazing people I have ever met. If I ever question something I'm doing, I will always say "What would Nick Jennings" do. Thanks Nick!

In 2011 my mom, brother, and sister visited me at Adventure Time. The picture above is with my mom, who I can't begin to thank for the countless times she has been my guiding light, support, and one of the main reasons I fight to be a better person every day. Thank-you mom, without you, your love, and support this adventure would of never happened. XOXOXO

My beautiful fiancee and love of my life Pamela Maruri wearing a Finn hat I brought for my future step-son Pablo. In the last year Pamela has given me more reason to do what I do everyday and love it even more. Pamela, thank-you for understanding all the late hours I've had to work and for being there for me through thick & thin. Also, happy 10 months today. I love you!

In the picture above is my future step-son Pablo dressed up as Finn. Pablo has also been an inspiration to me with his love and support of me working on Adventure Time, as well as his ideas and imaginative scenarios of what Finn & Jake would do in different adventures.

There many other people that I don't have pictures with (Andy Ristaino, Santino Lascano, Derek Hunter, Phil Rynda, and many many others), but you know who you are and what you meant to me. Life is an adventure and I am glad I was able to be part of this one. I will now be joining another amazing crew in animation (Regular Show) and doing Character Clean-Up for them. I'm super excited for my new path, but I will never forget that Adventure Time led me here. Here's to you Adventure Time & Adventure Time crew! I will miss you!


Two custom posters I made for the crew to sign. Thanks everyone!

Moments before toasting & before saying goodbye

The 2013 Adventure Time crew and I for one last photo together.

The amazing Kelly Crews and me.

Thanks everyone for everything! See you on the next Adventure!


pw! said...

you have much to be proud of and excited for hermano. Cheers to the past, and here's to the future!

Unknown said...

Hermosas palabras mi amor! La aventura solo empieza amor mio. Gracias por estas hermosas palabras, eres el mejor! Felices 10 meses!!!!!

Unknown said...

I love this post! So happy for you Joe, long deserved :)

Mathieu Beaulieu said...

WOW! Awesome story!
That's a realllly cool post!!
Have fun on your next adventures!! :D