Getting to know Graham Annable, the artist behind Puzzle Agent and graphic novel Grickle
See that squirrel drawing? That picture brought PC Gamer Editor-in-Chief Logan Decker to his knees, weeping with joy. What divine creature could have drawn such a magnificent work? Why, Graham Annable, of course! The prolific artist's worked at LucasArts as lead animator and was the creative director at Telltale Games—quite the portfolio, especially if you're into adventure games. But what's it like for an animator and comic artist that's seen the glory days of adventure games and continues to make them today? Only one way to find out—read on!
PC Gamer: You worked at LucasArts during adventure games’ golden age. Did you feel like a brave pioneer?
Graham Annable: I seriously had no clue or sense of context at the time. I was just happy to be paid to animate characters that were fun to draw. Only years later did I realize what a special opportunity it was.
What’s your favorite adventure game? Who’s your favorite character?
I do have a soft spot for Curse of Monkey Island, although I think perhaps Ben Throttle would win the prize as favorite character. Or maybe that alien space-turtle creature I animated in The Dig.
Do you ever run into people that look or act like one of your characters?
Definitely. In my mind we’re all participating in the Grickle-verse. How else would I get my ideas?
Were you surprised that Telltale was interested in edgier fare that includes guns, cults, and freaky gnomes?
We’d been talking about making a Grickle game for years. Puzzle Agent is really the kind of game that I knew I personally wanted to play. I feel incredibly fortunate that Telltale felt the same way and were willing to gamble on it.
Nelson Tethers isn’t a traditional hero. For example, he screams. A lot. How was he developed?
In the early stages of development, Nelson was written with a bit more of a confident “go get ’em!” attitude. I kept suggesting that Nelson should come off as more insecure and hesitant about things. I felt that I would personally relate to his character better, as opposed to heroes that hold massive guns and speak in harsh whispers.
What types of puzzles do you find most interesting?
My wife is fascinated by puzzles, and I tend to ask her help whenever I’m doing one. I’ve discovered that I’m more fascinated by mysteries in general. Puzzles just happen to be one of the many forms that mysteries take.
Do you doodle everywhere, or do you only draw on paper?
I do tend to doodle on a lot of things. As I was about to graduate from high school, I seriously contemplated getting into the sciences. But when I looked at my textbooks, they were so covered in cartoons and doodles that I could barely read them anymore. At that point, I decided that art was my more natural inclination.
When you sleep, what kinds of things do you dream about?
Kittens and pancakes mostly. I did also have this vivid one about a giant—wait, why do you ask?