Friday, December 2, 2011

On the Cover - James Jean

James Jean is the consummate artist. His covers are always technically proficient, aesthetically beautiful and evocatively designed. He's kind of like the weird love child of Jo Chen and Dave Johnson. His paintings not only capture the action of the story inside the comic, but the tone and mood as well. There's a reason why he's won the Eisner Award for best cover artist 6 years in a row - few do it better than James Jean. Check out some examples after the jump.

Here are some of his Batgirl/Batman covers. in the first one, issue 45, the detail on the man's tattoos is incredible. i love the sideways glance Batgirl is giving to the audience as well. It's almost like she's saying to the reader "are you getting all this?"
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James' best known work is on Fables, and it's easy to see why. The fantasy and mythological elements he brings out in each cover suit the book perfectly, and his design perfectly captures the heart of each story.
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The below cover for Fables 81 uses religious iconography for the top half, but is contrasted by toy like images that surround the dying figure (Boy Blue). This serves to show the conflicting elements in Boy Blue's character - he was a mighty her and leader, but still just a fun kid to have around.
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I love covers that show a figure, but hide there face, like this Fables cover, depicting Rose Red. despite the lack of facial expression, James jean is able to convey the characters' emotion to the reader.
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Jean's work on Umbrella Academy By Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba also captures elements of the fantastical, like the intricate nervous system worked into the White Violin below.
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Dynamic composition is paramount to a successful cover, and the placement of the three figures below is perfect in capturing the two opposing but equally powerful emotions going on in the book.
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There is no doubt James Jean is one of the greatest cover artists of the past ten years, and many would argue he's one of the greatest ever. James Jean is a master of his craft.

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