Ever heard of Prada? Rolling Stone Magazine? DC Comics? These are just a few of the big-shot notches in James Jean’s career bedpost and they for sure won’t be the last. Born in Taiwan, but raised in New Jersey, this NYC trained, LA-living, Taiwanese-American artist first caught my eye with his colorfully exotic illustrations splashed over the entire Prada S/S 2008 collection.
James is more well-known for his comic art, having done numerous covers for DC Comics, as well as the comic series Fable, and The Umbrella Academy. His work in the comic book realm has won him a shelf plus a mantelpiece worth of awards: 13 Eisners, 3 consecutive Harveys, and 4 awards combined from the Society of Illustrators LA and Society of Illustrators NY!! Hell yeah, you had better recognize.
What catches my eye about his art is his use of colour, but also how naturally flowing and soft his shapes are; there aren’t many of his works that I’ve seen that are all hard, jagged lines. Also, his works often contain a narrative, or story, or the capturing of a moment, which makes sense for comic book covers. He also likes to sprinkle mythological references into his drawings and many contain elements that are reminiscent of traditional Asian art.
In the last couple years James’ work has branched off from comics into more traditional art forms. Besides comics, James has published several books detailing the process of his more traditional artwork from sketches to the final colourings. You can check out the online version of his book, and all his latest sketches on his blog.