What Would James Jean Do? -- a mantra for aspiring artists everywhere, spawning copycats and envious detractors alike. In my experience with speaking to various editors and art directors, praise for the Golden Boy of cover art flows as freely as Pabst at a Williamsburg (James' former place of residence) party. And it's no wonder, as his prodigious talents scored him the opportunity to do Fables covers for Vertigo a mere six months out of college and more awards than can be humanly recounted from memory alone (including his most recently-won THIRD Harvey Award for Best Cover Artist). Startlingly humble and soft-spoken in person, these achievements have obviously not phased his ego nor his artistic integrity, as he begins to move towards working in the more personal field of fine arts rather than commissioned illustration.
Until then, we have the lovely second edition of Process Recess collecting his various illustrative and personal work in convenient twenty-two 15" x 11" cut-out prints suitable for framing (with handy-dandy instructions, at that!). Furthermore, the backs of his finished pieces feature the piece at various stages of the "process" to shed light on the method behind his madness. "Shouldn't James be concerned that imparting his methods will encourage imitation?" you may ponder. Not to worry! James' progressive work methods allow him to share his genius with others, as he is always steps ahead of whatever he has revealed to his audience. Additionally, there are extra pages of pen sketches of his work space as well as photo-thumbnails from his personal life to shed some light on the artist behind it all, how he works, and what inspires him.
*Alice Meichi Li
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