Fables: Covers (2008)


“If you’ll look again at any given Fables cover … in addition to being a compelling illustration that makes you want to read the story inside, it’s a story in itself.”


Something a little different this time. This is a beautiful oversized, hardback book collecting James Jean’s work as a cover artist on Fables. The book collects covers from the main series (#1-10 and 12-75), standalone books (The Last Castle and 1001 Nights of Snowfall) and the wraparound covers for the first 10 trade paperback collections.

The format of the book is pretty rigid. There is a double page spread for each single issue. The left hand page consists of preliminary sketches and paintings along with a relevant quote from the script for that issue and a thumbnail of the final cover as published. The right hand page is a full page reprint of the cover normally without logos, issue numbers, barcodes and other text or graphic elements unless these form an integral part of the design of the image.

The wraparound covers are treated slightly differently. These get 4 pages devoted to them. The first two have have the preliminary sketches, drawings and paintings with a thumbnail of the final cover and a short commentary from Jean himself on the cover. The next two pages is a reproduction of the cover alone without logos etc.

It goes without saying that if you love Jean’s work then you will love this book. It shows which covers went through a number of iterations before settling on a final image and which seem to have been fully formed from the start. Amazing as the final covers are, some of my favourite illustrations are clean line drawings – the details are amazing and sometimes get lost in the colouring process. Visit his web site which has lots of examples of his other work.

Rift (2010)

A beautiful book from Fables cover artist James Jean that is composed entirely of wordless illustrations. The book’s panels are concertinaed together to form a continuous whole. Within this structure are interweaved two distinct fantastical landscapes – a seascape and a strange procession across a weird landscape. The book allows for the panels to be combined in different ways allowing the viewer to construct their own narrative.

The reverse contains the pencil versions of the same illustrations.

Hard to describe but see the illustrative video for a better idea.