Born Conrad Vernon IV in Lubbock, Texas on July 11, 1968, he studied at the California Institute of the Arts before beginning his professional career in animation as a storyboard artist and character designer on such independent-minded films and television series as "The Ren and Stimpy Show" (Nickelodeon, 1991-95) and Ralph Bakshi's "Cool World" (1992). In 1996, he joined DreamWorks Animation as a storyboard artist for their first animated effort, "Antz" (1996). The success of that film led to "Shrek," for which Vernon served as both a writer and the voice of the scrappy but troubled Gingerbread Man, a role he would repeat in all three feature film sequels and numerous short animated specials for television. Vernon became co-director for the Oscar-nominated "Shrek 2" (2004), and served as both creative consultant and the voice of Mason the chimpanzee in "Madagascar" (2005) and its various sequels and related projects, including the weekly series "The Penguins of Madagascar" (Nickelodeon, 2009-2012). He returned to directing for the irreverent, Annie-winining animated feature "Monsters vs. Aliens" in 2009, for which he also provided the voice of the colossal mutant grub Insectosaurus. Vernon remained busy for DreamWorks in the years that followed, directing the Annie-nominated "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" (2012), and then voicing the scatterbrained penguin Rico for the "Penguins of Madagascar" (2014) feature. In 2015, he teamed with Greg Tiernan to direct "Sausage Party," an R-rated animated film about the secret lives of food that was penned by actor Seth Rogen and his writing/producing partner, Evan Goldberg.