Paul Gilligan’s affair with art began in 1970, in kindergarten, when he figured out that he stunk at sports and that art was his only other option for impressing chicks. Weaned on Mad magazine, super-hero comics and “Bloom County,” Paul attended Toronto’s Sheridan College for animation and illustration and took comedy writing at the Film Institute in Ottawa.
He joined The Ottawa Citizen newspaper as its on-staff illustrator, where he won awards in both illustration and design, and also found work in advertising, editorial cartooning, storyboarding, comic books and animation, and finally set up shop in downtown Toronto as a freelancer, where his roster of illustration clients included Time, Entertainment Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, Disney, and Wired. During this time he created a number of strips, the culmination of which was “Pooch Café.” Poncho became in instant hit with readers and has grown to 300 newspapers over the past 10 years, being nominated for the National Cartoonists Society’s best comic strip in 2008. A stuffed version of Poncho has been visiting fans across the globe for the past two years, Ringtales is animating 30-second shorts of the Pooch gang’s adventures, and there is a feature-length CGI movie in the works at Sony Animation. Paul does not currently own a dog, but he skulks around dog parks doing research, and is an avid viewer of Dogs With Jobs and Scooby Doo reruns.