Culture & Lifestyle
Published January 28, 2022

'Asked & Answered with the Women of Marvel': Jen Bartel

The Eisner-winning illustrator gives us a glimpse of her art process!

'Asked & Answered with the Women of Marvel': Jen Bartel

Get to know the Asked & Answered with the Women of Marvel series here. Be sure to head over to Marvel.com/askedanswered every other week for more!

Jen Bartel (she/her) is an award-winning illustrator whose universe-spanning cover art for Marvel can now be seen in glorious green in the new SHE-HULK series (Issue #1, written by Rainbow Rowell and art by Rogê Antônio, is on sale at your local comic shop now!). In addition to taking time out of her packed schedule to answer our questions, she’s given us an exciting look into her process creating the SHE-HULK corner box! 

Her dogs are brilliant. Her artwork is brilliant. She’s a Woman of Marvel. And we had some questions for her. 

Jen Bartel She-Hulk
SHE-HULK corner box illustration process by Jen Bartel

We asked. She answered. 

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

Give my two very excited dogs a few head pats and food.

What makes a great day?

Finishing all of my tasks ahead of schedule.

Must-have item when working?

A cup of strong coffee.

ROY, G, or BIV?

I'll go with Blue/Indigo/Violet. Fans of my work will probably recognize it as a recurring color scheme.

What gets you up at 3am?

That's my secret, Cap: I never went to sleep in the first place. Like many artists, I'm a bit of a night owl, so there's a good chance that I'm still awake and drawing.

Jen Bartel dogs

Would you rather have super strength or be a seriously excellent lawyer?

In today's world, I think being an excellent lawyer would allow me to do more good.

Got any superstitions?

I grew up in South Korea, where a common superstition is that writing someone's name in red ink will bring them misfortune. When I add my signature to sketches, I really like how it looks in red, but it still makes me feel a pang of (totally irrational) uneasiness.

What was your favorite book, movie, or TV show as a kid?

I read a lot of shoujo manga growing up, such as Sailor Moon and various CLAMP series. In terms of Western media, I was a huge fan of the X-Men animated series that aired in the 90s.

What is your favorite book, movie, or TV show now?

Even though I work in media professionally, these days I actually have less time to consume media than ever. But I'm caught up on most of the MCU releases and WandaVision was definitely a standout to me. I really appreciated how it handled complicated topics, such as grief and mental health, in a way that felt real and relatable to general audiences. Outside of Marvel properties, I was pleasantly surprised by The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance as a fan of the original film.

SHE-HULK (2022) #2 cover art by Jen Bartel
SHE-HULK (2022) #2 cover art by Jen Bartel

Of all the Marvel characters you’ve illustrated, who has your back in an alien invasion?

Captain Marvel or Shuri seem like good choices to have on my side.

Of all the Marvel characters you’ve illustrated, who are you hanging out with on a Saturday night?

I think She-Hulk has the right amount of confidence and sassiness to make a Saturday night fun.

Coffee or tea?

As much as I love tea, I can't remember the last day I went without a coffee.

Checkers or chess?

Chess.

What’s on your desert island mix tape?

My go-to music for working is downtempo and electronica, like Massive Attack, Bonobo, etc. But if I'm stranded on a desert island alone, I'd probably just have Carly Rae Jepsen on repeat.

What do you always make time for?

Playing with and enjoying teaching my dogs new tricks. My older one can actually turn lights on and off for me, so we’re making progress here!

SHE-HULK (2022) #3 cover art by Jen Bartel
SHE-HULK (2022) #3 cover art by Jen Bartel

What’s your favorite part in the process of illustrating a cover?

The coloring/rendering phase, where I'm putting on the final touches that brings a piece to life.

Who makes you laugh?

My friend and fellow artist, Kris Anka, keeps me sane and laughing.

Mantra or quote that keeps you going?

I'm not sure that this counts as a mantra, but I try to remind myself how fortunate I am to get to create art for a living and work on projects I genuinely enjoy—I think having a healthy amount of gratitude is essential to keeping things in perspective.

Best thing about being a Woman of/Creator at Marvel?

The opportunity to work with characters that meant so much to me growing up, and reimagining them for a new generation.

EXCLUSIVE: JEN BARTEL'S PROCESS FOR SHE-HULK #5 COVER'S CORNER BOX

SHE-HULK #5 cover corner box by Jen Bartel

Pick up Jen Bartel's cover for SHE-HULK #1 on sale at your local comic shop now! SHE-HULK #2 on sale on February 23!

MacKenzie Cadenhead (she/her) is a children’s book author and an old school (Read: former) Marvel editor — not old-old but let’s just say she knew Gwen Stacy when she was dead. She co-authors the "Marvel Super-Hero Adventures" chapter book series for young readers and is a proud Woman of Marvel. You can see what she’s up to over at Instagram @mackenziecadenhead.

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