Monday, February 12, 2007

Thumbnails: James Jean

Thumbnails: 30 Second Interviews

James Jean is something of a phenomenon -- still in his twenties, and yet he has made an enormous impact on comics and illustration. Currently, James is spending more time creating personal paintings along side his illustration. It’s well worth spending lots of time at his website — the sketches and travelogues are at least as interesting as the final artworks. His blog, ProcessRecess has tons of great in-progress material. Also well worth checking out is his visual “conversation” with artist Kinichie Hoshine at PoliteWinter.com .


Favorite painting you did in the past year?

The cover to Fables 54


Dream assignment?
Anything that allows for complete freedom, pays great, and offers wide exposure.

First break in the business?
Doing the annual report for the New Academy of Sciences, which included a wraparound cover and seven or so watercolor portraits. Thomas Woodruff recommended me for the assignment. Also, he recommended me to an art director at Simon & Schuster, who decided to 'try me out' on a book called Bad Girl Creek, which you can still find on Amazon. My first cover gig was also the absolute worst. It took some time before I could figure things out as an illustrator

Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?

It as during my foundation year at the School of Visual Arts. For the first time, I felt imbued with a sense of purpose and belonging.


How do you feel about your college training?
Art school was very important to me, a well as living in New York and forming friendships with some great artists.

Most embarrassing illustration related moment?
When Natalie Ascencios tried to fail me out of her drawing class at SVA.


A career highlight?
Honestly, every assignment I take on is a highlight until the next one comes along. Having that mindset helps keep the work fresh and interesting.


Your biggest influences?
My memories, dreams, and friends.


Advice to a young illustrator?
Be patient with your career, don't compromise your work, and make it personal.

11 comments:

Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

Knock out stuff. I love it.A well versed and multi-faceted guy!

lyon said...

Great post. I recently discovered James with the last Spectrum. I don't know how I went so long not knowing his work. His work triggers more of a emotional response in me than any other artist in a long time. Thanks again for this blog. I always look forward to your updates. Congrats Mr. Jean. Fantastic work. Very inspiring.

Brandon Sanderson said...

Man. That Fables cover is awesome. I love these interviews you do, Irene.

Carl V. said...

Thanks for this great interview. James Jean has been a favorite since the very first issue of Fables was released. His work is both stunning and breathtaking.

Irene Gallo said...

I should say, I find the fact that James nearly failed drawing with Natalie Ascenscios (another amazing artist)VERY funny.

tygriffin said...

I'm actually just reading the Fables comics at the moment - I'm very bad...I hate to admit I judged a book by its cover and only picked the stories up finally because I'd found the blog "Process Recess" and loved the artwork that I'd seen there. Nice little interview! :)

- Tanja

Mike Dutton said...

Tygriffin, you should never hate to admit judging a book by its cover.... that's possibly the best compliment an illustrator can get! I'm with you though; I picked up Fables for the same reason (though I really like the story and art inside as well).

Jack Ruttan said...

Very pretty. Interesting to see the "juxtapoz" style entering the F&SF world!

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