Thursday, November 20, 2008
Fables Covers: James Jean
Today I purchased Fables Covers, a collection of covers by artist James Jean. It has every "Fables" cover from issues 1 to 75. Plus, it includes covers of TPBs (trade paper backs), special stand alone issues, and several sketches and preliminary covers. All of the art in this book is simply amazing.
As a reader of the critically acclaimed series "Fables," I own several individual comics and TPBs in the series. While "Fables Covers" does show you a smaller picture of how each comic actually was printed, text and all, the book also provides slightly larger final portraits of Jean's covers. Though all of the final shots are beautiful, the actual comic covers are slightly superior in quality. When in the actual comic size printing, Jean's art appears more defined and crisp. It is almost like a digital picture that was blown up just slightly too large, and the resolution is not quite good enough. I must stress this is a very minor flaw I noticed only after viewing the complete book. Readers without the individual comics will not even notice.
With that said, the bonuses in "Fables Covers" are exactly what a fan of James Jean's art could hope for. The beginning sketches and alternative cover ideas takes one behind the scenes and into the mind of Jean as he places the whole interior story on a single page cover (2 page wrap around covers on the TPBs). An excerpt of each issue is included with each cover to help add context, and each work of art is accompanied by a caption describing how and with what the cover was created (example: Oil and Ballpoint Pen on Wood Panel, 18 x 24". Fables #1).
Bill Willingham, "Fables" writer, also writes a short praising passage for his collaborator. The passage follows a short interview Jean gives Willingham. Besides some written entries by Jean that about sums-up "Fables Covers".
Jean uses several different artistic styles to create his covers: pencil sketching, acrylics, oil, digital, watercolor, pigment ink, graphite, charcoal and so on. His style of anything and everything to tell the story in a captured scene stands him out as a leading artist in not just the comic industry, but the art industry as well.
Jean has done work for Prada, Nike, ESPN, Rolling Stone Magazine and many other major companies. His career started taking off as soon as he graduated New York City's School of Visual Arts in 2001.
James Jean has created some of the most memorable and gorgeous covers over the past 7 years. "Fables Covers" captures his talent and is a must own for any comic, fantasy, or art lover.