Cover artist James Jean ends his Eisner-winning run on ‘Fables’

Books, Comics

FABLES, cover of issue number 79 by James Jean
ONE OF THE FINAL FABLES COVERS BY JAMES JEAN. ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF JAMES JEAN.

I think this is the saddest post I’ve ever written. After seven years of creating brilliant, award-winning cover art for Fables, artist James Jean is calling it quits.

An accomplished illustrator, designer and five-time winner of the Eisner Award for “Best Cover Artist” for his amazing Fables covers, JJ recently announced on his blog that the cover for issue #81 will be his last. According to Jean, “it has been an amazing opportunity to work on Fables … but I feel that it’s time to devote myself full-time to painting and personal work.”

FABLES cover book by James Jean

“For the past year or so, I’ve stopped working for magazines, books, and advertising as I tried to make the transition towards my personal work … until now, Fables has represented the last vestige of my illustration career. Now it’s onto personal projects full-time. With the XOXO postcard book out this week and the Fables Covers collection arriving in a couple of months, I hope to continue designing and putting out books that provide a context for my work in all its various incarnations.”

While I understand and respect Jean’s decision, it’s unfortunate that he’s leaving the series that introduced me to his work and led me and so many others to become devoted fans. It’s also unfortunate that his upcoming Fables Covers book will not include all of his covers.

I had the pleasure of meeting James Jean at this year’s Comic-Con, as well as getting a sketch and several autographs — including one on an early copy of his new XOXO postcard book. Like all of his art, it’s beautiful, elegant and superbly designed. His eye for color, composition, and unique perspective has always put him in a league of his own — challenging and inspiring other artists in the comics world and elsewhere. Though he’ll still produce quality work, I’ll miss seeing it on the comic shelf every month.

If you’re interested in seeing more of James Jean’s artwork, check out his website, blog, and his collaborative project with artist Kenichi Hoshine called Polite Winter.

FABLES, cover of issue number 78 by James Jean