HI, I’m Mitsuhiro Arita. I know I’m quite well known as an artist of Pokémon TCG, but I have been working on a lot of other projects that you may never know.
I was born in Fukuoka, Japan, and now living in Tokyo, Japan. I started my career as a professional illustrator in 1996, and the first project for me was Pokémon TCG. Sounds like a dream? But that was even before the first GBA Pokémon has not released. I was honestly worried about finding another project before the end of my contract. Anyway, I started work on Pokémon TCG in the prototype stage. I drew illustrations for the prototype and designed the first five energy marks as well.
While I’m working on first Pokémon TCG product, I got a connection with a small publisher, named SHINKIGENSHA. SHINKIGENSHA is the publisher mainly making books about mythology, history and fantasy subjects that is suitable for the reference material for artist, comic artist, authors, and game creators. I drew tons of cuts for their books and got knowledge about those subjects.
Meanwhile, I suddenly found out by KENICHI IWAO, who is well known as a planner and the creator of the world of Final Fantasy XI, named “Vana’diel.” He said he saw my drawings on the book “ARMS & ARMOR”(SHINKIGENSHA, 2004) and want to ask me to draw the world of Vana’diel. That was the beginning of my work for SQUARE ENIX.
I worked on Final Fantasy XI for over ten years. Mainly I draw cuts for the articles about worldview but also the announcements about season events. I also worked on the scenario “Seekers of Adoulin”(2013) as the in-game cutscenes artist. I think nobody knows, but I designed Final Fantasy XIV’s “Guild Leave Card” as well. Unfortunately, I left Final Fantasy XI because they decided to shrink the operation of XI and pass the baton to XIV after 12 years continuously expand, and that is the rare long life for ONLINE MMO RPG. They even made an exhibition in their official store, “ARTNIA” at Shinjuku, Japan, for one of their 11th-anniversary event.
During I had been working on Final Fantasy XI, I also did almost one hundred card illustrations for computer card & board game “Culdcept” series (OMIYA-SOFT, 1997-2016),
Illustrations for the series of novels “Guardians of Ga’hoole“,”Wolves of the beyond“, “Shark Wars“, “The Wild Ones” (Japanese translated version from KADOKAWA). In addition, Warner Bros made a 3D animation film named “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole“(Warner Bros. 2010) based on the series of “Guardians of Ga’hoole”, directed by Zack Snyder (300, Sucker Punch)
card design for “DICE-O“(BANDAI) that is based on the characters from “SENTAI TV series” well known as “Power Ranger” in western countries I think, key visuals for “GANBARIDE“(BANDAI) that is the card game based on the characters from the TV series “KAMEN-RIDER”(Masked rider), they are a sort of comic heroes in the western countries.
I also worked on some of animation film titles, unfortunately “BERSERK: The Dolden Age Arc“(Warner Bros.) part I (2012) part II(2013) part III(2014) was the only a title that released. You can see a bit of my work in another post. I’m looking forward another one, “Hirune Hime: Shiranai Watashi no Monogatari“(Warner Bros. 2017) will be released in safe that I worked on as a concept designer for a year.
Leave from the story of my commission work. I don’t have any background to do art. I went a collage and studied about electronic engineering and studied mainly about Software engineering. Then after I graduate, I become to be an illustrator in some reasons. Of course, I didn’t have enough skill to do professional illustrator, So I have to teach myself to survive It was natural I started to do sketching in daily life. I learnt almost everything from sketching. I mainly used to use pen, brush pen or fountain pan for years to do that, but recently I started sketching with watercolor even in the train. Every time I have t go far from my hometown, I drew something during the trip. I’m posting my sketches time by time, so please keep following me on Facebook or Twitter if you like.From the experience of self-taught, I’m talking while live drawing a picture at the collages and companies. I did live demo in many places all over Japan in last seven years, from northernmost state HOKKAIDO to southernmost state OKINAWA. I also had a live demo tour in China in 2013 for a week, and did in public library in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. in 2015.
From the experience of live demo, I started get asking to do demo at the Comic Con. When I attended Tokyo Comic Con(2017), I painted a creepy old man on the big (3Mx1.5M) panel and took a picture with Lance Henriksen (great actor, greatly known as BISHOP in “Alien 2″1986)!
I did official Pokémon signing events at Seattle (2000), Orlando (2004), and Nashville (2018), all in the U.S.
I’m attending as an international guest artist when I get the invitation.
- Ocala Comic Con 2014, 2015, 2016 (Ocala, FL, US)
- Collective Con 2016, 2018 (Jacksonville, FL, US)
- Tokyo Comic Con 2017 (Tokyo, JP)
- Cartoomics 2018 (Millan, IT)
- Middle East Film and Comic Con 2019 (Dubai, AUE)
- Japan Expo 2019 (Paris, FR)
- Hyper Japan 2019 (London, UK)
I also had a business trip to China to do a live demo and Taipei to cooperate in making advertising stuff for ASUS.
I do commissions, signing, and take a picture with fans at the event.
I’m still having difficulty living as a freelance artist. So, I started to try to create my job by myself. At first, I started YouTube Live Painting. It’s just showing my practice as live streaming. I want to show you that I’m not special, and I’m still trying to be better. Second, I started my online store. I’ll sell my official items and auction the originals that I drew in the YouTube Live Painting. Please subscribe to our newsletter on my store and support me.
30 Replies to “BIOGRAPHY”
I love your work, and try to collect every card in Pokemon that is by you. Some I can’t afford, but I’m near complete. I particularly love A Skarmory card on it’s cliff nest, The Lickilicky, The Girafirig and all your amazing Gyarados cards.
Thank you for the comment. It’s my pleasure to hear I have fans like you. Thank you for your continusous suport 🙂
Hi Mitsuhiro, just discovered you have a site. Great stuff! Your Pokémon cards are my favourite and I’ve begun collecting as many as I can find 🙂
Any plans on releasing an artbook of your Pokémon illustrations? Keep up the amazing work.
I can’t release anything about Pokemon personality but there are already two artbooks released from the CREATURES inc, the company that had been developing the Pokemon TCG. The first one has the interview and making article of me, and the second one has a lot of early artworks I did, include Charizard and Pikachu of the first basement set, and the interview with Mr. Ishihara (Executive Producer of the Pokemon Universe), Mr. Oyama (Game designer of Pokemon TCG), and me as the first artist for the Pokemon TCG.
When do you plan on visiting the US again? You were just in Texas and I found out after you were gone I’m from Michigan, any chance you would visit near by next time? P.s. I’m a huge fan of your pokemon art
Please read this first
Thank you so much
Did you design the illustrator card?
What do you mean by the illustrator card?
Hi Mitsuhiroさん! I’m a big fan of your work, my dream is to be a professional illustrator like you! (I want to work at Nintendo) However I’m still a beginner at drawing and I’m not sure how to practice well.
You said you sketched from daily life. How did you learn anatomy? I’m having difficulty learning it. Did you also sketch from your imagination a lot?
I know you are asking the same question for the other people.
If you just follow somebody others path, You will be lost. You have to found your own way.
Just keep sketching. The real world will teach you everything.
Thank you very much. I will follow your advice
Hi Mitsuhiro, I’ve been a long time fan of your work since seeing your Pokemon TCG illustrations as a kid.
I would love to work in Japan as a freelance illustrator, but I’m not sure how to go about it. Is there any advice you could give on finding work as a foreigner freelancing in Japan?
First if all, people in Japan will not work with people who can’t speak Japanese. So you should study the Japanese first.
Also, you have to draw a lot. If you could come to Japan, I can speak you how I made my skill by self-taught at my sketching seminar.
Thank you for the response. I understand learning the language is important so I plan to work hard studying at a Japanese language school. I hope to attend one of your seminars when I am studying in Japan. Thanks again for your time!
I’m a big fan of your pokemon work and art in general, but ive always sort of wondered: of all the artworks you’ve done, which is your personal favorite?
The artwork I’m working on.
Hi Mitsuhiro, my son and I got into pokemon around 2 years ago, and both love your work, we came about looking you up today as he was asking who was actually drawing the pokemon he loves so much.. so I recommended looking you up he loved to see a face to the name and we both enjoyed looking at your other work, we hope at some time in the future you are able to come to the UK for a comic con or similar event, as your work here is very muched loved, and wed both love the opportunity to meet you, all the best Lez and son Jordan.
Hello Mr. Arita!
Do you still do signatures for pokémon cards? I recently obtained a Shadowless Base Set Charizard and I graded it and got a 7! It would be a Dream and an Honor to have your signature on it
Plz read this
did you do any sketch cards for the upper deck marvel anime 2020 set? i have a black panther sketch that is signed mitsu and wondering if this is from you. https://i.imgur.com/7Tazgbc.jpeg
I never did. Also I usually shorten my sign as Mit. So Mitsu is another person.
Sorry if I originally posted this as a reply to another comment and an error, feel free to delete those two. Hello Mr. Arita! It’s amazing to be able to chat with you like this. How have you been lately? Like many others, I was introduced to your work at a young age some 20+ years ago with Pokémon cards. I really only had the base set, Rocket and Gym Heroes stuff and then kind of fell off. Well within the last year a friend of mine reignited the fire in me for the cards. I’m loving seeing all your old artwork and your contributions to the newer sets! Do you have any confirmation on whether you’ll be at Collective Con in 2022? I’d love to meet you in person. Will you have any of your works to purchase with you? Thank you for your time and all this effort!
Thank you, I will keep an eye out.
I enjoyed reading your story! I am surprised to hear for an original artist like you, Pokemon still has you as a freelance artist and not a salaried employee. I am happy to see you have become successful in selling your personal art though, you have in my opinion become one of today’s art legends. I look forward to meeting you at Ocala Con!
Hello Mr Mitsuhiro, Your background story is inspiring. I’m one of your biggest fans. There’s allot here that I didn’t know, what a great journey. I’m grateful for you and was wondering if you had any copies of the *Le Grand Diner in Paris for Mr. Fuji* for sale. I understand that the original has been auctioned.. It’s unfortunate that I’ve missed it, however if you had any copies I would love to purchase.
It will be available at the online store.