by Richard Serrao
Once artist Mitch Breitweiser gained access to the Marvel kingdom It didn’t take long for him to put his stamp on classic characters such as Namor and Captain America. He’s an extremely well-rounded artist who is comfortable with paints, inks and recently a digital palette. I had to look twice at some of his pages to make sure they weren’t from another era.
Photo by Vinh-Luan Luu
First professional work (piece / year) and maybe a quick story behind it.
Surprisingly enough it was for Marvel. Agent X issues 9-10 I believe. Feel free to never look them up. I wasn’t ready for professional work at the time and I lucked into the gig. It took me 3 years to get my foot back into the door after that.
Self-taught or formally educated? (or mixture of both, mentors etc…)
A mixture of both. Since there isn’t that many courses out there in sequential art all that stuff becomes self taught. I have a formal college art education, but a degree will never translate into a career as a professional artist. You have to be self motivated.
Tools of the trade: Taking a quick glance over at your pens, brushes etc…what tools have you mainly been using over the last few years?
I use brushes pretty much exclusively. I have a couple #4 and #6 Windsor & Newton Series 7 brushes for painting and inking. For inking I also use these fairly cheap pentel brush pens. I use Black Magic ink. I’m actually moving more and more of my work into all digital, though. My primary workhorses in for digital art are my 17″ Macbook pro, a Cintiq 21ux, and Photoshop CS3.
Favorite brand of ink:
Black Magic. Exclusively. It has a nice warm black. It’s fluid and it dries quickly and it isn’t too “heavy” on the brush.
Type of paper:
I used to cut my own boards. They were Strathmore 500 series 2 ply bristol (cold press). I frankly just got sick of cutting them so I went with the lower quality boards that Marvel provides for us.
Which artists or creators do you return to for a quick boost of inspiration? Who are the masters of ink?
Tommy Lee Edwards, John Paul Leon, Mazzucchelli, Bill Rienhold inking Doug Braithwaite, Dustin Nguyen, Those are just off the top of my head. I could go on forever, though.
Once a client has handed off an illustration job to you, how do you first tackle the job. Could you run us through a quick overview of your process?
I take inventory of all the objects that need to be placed on the page or cover, then I try to arrange those objects in the most interesting and efficient way possible. Starting with a rough layout, and tightening up from there. Every piece of art is made or broken by the artists knowledge of 2d design. I would suggest anyone serious about comics to get some good textbooks on design theory.
What’s currently sitting in your mp3 / CD player / turntable?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Animal Collective lately. I’m also hooked on Coast to Coast AM podcasts. It’s a crazy late night conspiracy radio show where they talk about supernatural stuff and government cover ups. Great fodder for the imagination.
What’s hanging on your walls and what is your favorite piece of art that you own (not created by you)?
My colorist wife, Elizabeth, and I keep a pretty minimalist house, so they are mainly color field paintings hanging up. My wife painted a few really great modern pop art-ish pieces a couple of years ago and the ones she hasn’t sold yet still adorn our walls.
Last novel you read and last movie that you saw (that you’d recommend)?
Oh my. I’m embarrassed to say that haven’t read a novel in a good while. Between my short attention span and my busy schedule, It’s hard to find the time to catch up on a good book. As far as movies go, The Wrestler was incredible. As a guy who works in a pop culture medium, it touched on one of my deepest fears. Irrelevance.
Current and upcoming projects.
I’m doing a couple pages for the big Cap #600 special that Marvel has coming out. I’m also working on a few covers. I have a webcomic side project that I co-created called “The Futurists.” We should be putting some episodes out for free online very soon.
Experimenting with digital inking.
What would you tell an aspiring artist who is working his ass off but still needs and wants to break through to the next level?
If they are working their ass off, then all they need is patience. If you are working hard, breakthroughs will happen.