From Publishers Weekly
Part of a new breed of visual artists operating somewhere between the realms of cartooning and traditional fine-art illustration, Jean has yet to publish any actual comics, but his award-winning covers for comic books such as Fables have put him on the map nonetheless. Much of his best work leaps from pure illustrative representation to the bold simplicity of old comic strips, seemingly within a single line. This collection is a sampling of the last five years' worth of his rough sketchbook drawings (images overlapping each other, notes to self and diary entries scribbled on the page), as well as his most impressive finished pieces-notably the "Recess" series of digitally manipulated, enormously unsettling images of school. Chris Ware's sketchbooks seem to be as big an influence on Jean as Robert Crumb's were on Ware's. He often starts by catching poses on the fly in public places, then lets his attention wander to a meticulous depiction of the setting's architecture. Most of the juice in Jean's work, though, comes from conflating hyperreal and surreal elements: impossible, grotesque images drawn with a manga-derived hardness, or rendered casually in a way that catches the subtleties of skin texture and loose-hanging cloth.
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