David Cowles (pronounced "coals"; born November 3, 1961), renowned caricature artist and illustrator, has directed, produced, and designed many videos for They Might Be Giants.
Cowles first met the band around late 2005, when he was producing a pilot, Skitterville, for Playhouse Disney, and needed a band to make the theme song. TMBG's theme song was ultimately left unmade however, as the Playhouse Disney executives vetoed the idea due to the band already working on several projects for the network. The pilot was eventually dropped in June 2006 due to lack of interest from the focus group, but he and the band remained in touch over the rest of the year for any potential projects to work on.
Cowles then first worked with the band in December 2006, when he directed and designed the video for "Triops Has Three Eyes" (from Here Come the 123s), with animator Phil Lockerby and the studio Flickerlab, both of whom coincidentally also worked on Skitterville. Since then, Cowles has produced numerous music videos for They Might Be Giants, most frequently with collaborator and co-director Jeremy Galante.
In 2013, the video for "Icky" from Nanobots (directed by Cowles and Galante) previewed at a show in March at in Rochester, NY—Cowles' hometown—and Cowles was given a special tribute at the show. Much of the photo material in the video, including Mr. Icky himself, was collaged material from Cowles' and Galante's friends and family.
Cowles directed numerous videos for the 2015 and 2018 iterations of Dial-A-Song. In this period he also worked with the band to create the Escape Team concept and characters, and created the associated comic book.
Cowles' daughter, Alison Coté (née Cowles), is also a character designer and illustrator. She provided the illustrations for TMBG's fifth children's album, Why?, and its promotional material, including the animated music video for "Moles, Hounds, Bears, Bees And Hares".
Videography for They Might Be Giants
Miscellaneous music videos
- "The Mesopotamians" (2007, with animator Chris Timmons)
- "We Live In A Dump" (2010, co-directed with Liesje Kraai)
- "100 Cars For Good" (2013, co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "Icky" (2013, co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "Ice Cream (Healthy Eating)" by Danny Weinkauf (2014, co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- Theme From Flood - (2020), tribute to Flood on its 30th anniversary, co-directed with Jeremy Galante. Watch it on
- "Stuff Is Way - (2022), made 9 years after the release of the Nanobots track in 2013.
Here Come The 123s (2008)
- "I Can Add" (co-directed with Adam Sacks)
- "I Never Go To Work" (co-directed with Sean McBride)
- "Number Two" (with Director of Photography Tim Brown)
- "Triops Has Three Eyes" (with animator Phil Lockerby at Flickerlab)
Here Comes Science (2009)
- "Ballad Of Davy Crockett (In Outer Space)" (co-directed with Tiny Inventions)
- "Cells" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "Put It To The Test" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "Science Is Real" (co-directed with Andy Kennedy)
- "Why Does The Sun Really Shine?" (co-directed with Liesje Kraai)
- Song introduction videos (co-directed with Liesje Kraai)
- "Music Jail, Pt. 1 & 2" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante, character design by David Plunkert)
- "Let Me Tell You About My Operation" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante, character design by David Plunkert)
- "Thinking Machine" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "The Summer Breeze" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "Rock Club" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "Moles, Hounds, Bears, Bees And Hares" (video designed by Alison Cowles, co-directed by David Cowles and Jeremy Galante)
- "Elephants" (video designed by Alison Cowles, co-directed by David Cowles and Jeremy Galante)
- "Dr. Sy Fly"
- "Dog" (illustrations by Joanna Neborsky, edited by David Cowles)
- "Jackie The Clipper"
- "Push Back The Hands" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante)
- "Chip The CHiP"
- "Mr. Mischief Night"
- "Corrupted Lyle"
- "John Postal"
- "Flo Wheeler" (directed by Cowles, additional animation from Maria Friske)
- "The Communists Have The Music" (co-directed with Jeremy Galante, with art by David Plunkert)
- "Dunkin Of Course Of Course"
- "Re-PETE Offender"
- "Mrs. Bluebeard" (co-directed by Cowles, with art by Kassandra Heller and animation by Jeremy Galante)