20.07.11 by Jeff

James Jean / Interview

A couple weeks ago I had a chance to talk with James Jean about his new book REBUS which comes out this fall, and thanks to my generous friends at Chronicle Books I have a signed copy to give away to one of you!



James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

If I came out to LA to visit for a day, where would you recommend I go for my breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Jeff, you will begin your day by having breakfast in bed with me, then El Taurino for lunch, and finally Gjelina for dinner. We will retire to my place to look at some fine etchings. If you play ball, you can enjoy croissants and fresh squeezed juice again the next morning.

Haha breakfast in bed first! Like the first date in Annie Hall when Woody Allen asks for his kiss before they eat so he can actually enjoy his meal. If you could be a character in any film who would you be?

Grizzly Man. Because I enjoy being consumed by the thing I love the most.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

I have been following your work since 2004, around the time you started the Polite Winter project. That was one of the things that really inspired me when I thought about creating Booooooom. I like the idea of an on-going visual conversation between artists over several years. What was that experience like for you?

Wow, did I really have a hand in the creation of Booooooom? Polite Winter was a nice way for me to keep in contact with my friend, Kenichi Hoshine, who lives in New York. It was also a good outlet for me to experiment with images and materials. Looking back on it, the experience was kind of like playing Words with Friends: after sending my solution to Kenichi across the country, I impatiently waited for his response. But upon seeing it, I’d feel the pressure to come up with something worthy… I’ve been so confounded that it’s been my turn to respond for 5 years.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

I had never seen Kenichi Hoshine’s work before that, and two years ago I curated my first art show and was able to bring Kenichi’s work to Vancouver! Also, I’m sure my friend is cheating at Words with Friends, last week he laid down the word OURARI. Smart people don’t even know that word and my friend is dumb!

Yeah, your friend is a horrible human being. My word of choice is QI. Compact but lethal.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

Stylistically your work has changed a lot since then, but there seems to have been a big shift in your creative process too. What are you thinking about when you make work now?

I’m thinking about the nature of things. The process is much more philosophical, frequently elusive, and ultimately futile. One day I hope to come to accept the futility, so that my tears will evaporate into a vapor of inspiration.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

Is there someone else’s work that you can always return to for inspiration?

Looking around my studio, I have new books by John Baldessari, Neo Rauch, Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen… I can’t point to once source, it’s constantly changing and evolving. Idolatry is forbidden.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

Did you find it hard to switch from illustrating for other people to making work solely for yourself? I worked at Electronic Arts for awhile as a concept artist and now sometimes I have a hard time putting down that first bit of ink and feeling like it’s an honest line.

The switch was relatively easy for me — I had a backlog of images and ideas that were waiting to be brought to life. Thus, the craft of illustrating filtered into the work from Kindling in 2009. I guess it took me some time to get to the inherent nature of the mark, as opposed to being tasked to create the illusion of a mark. That’s why the work has changed so quickly. Once having exhausted the reservoir of images, I had to start investigating the nature of what it is that I have to express.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

Over the past couple years I’ve shifted the focus of Booooooom quite a bit, luckily there are enough people willing to change as the site changes that it continues to grow. Do you feel like there is a similarity between that and the path you have taken, gaining a massive following in comics and now shifting to the kind of work you make now?

My website was gaining a fair bit of traction even before comics in 2000 – it was featured regularly on the big art and design blogs of the day like Pixelsurgeon, Design is Kinky, and others. The comic covers were but one aspect of a varied commercial art career . . . but I guess it makes for a good story. It’s an easy narrative to follow. But to be more accurate, my current paintings can be traced back to the sketchbook work I was making from 2000-2003. Since I stopped illustrating in 2008, I’m meeting people now who had no idea that I did comic covers. There’s some crossover, but I’m beginning to find that the audiences are distinct: the fans of art and design don’t necessarily care or know about the comic covers, and the comic fans don’t necessarily follow the art world. And that’s OK.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

They sent me out an advance copy of your new book “Rebus”, it’s enormous! How do you feel when you go through this collection of your work?

Yes, it is big… swollen with images. If you tickle the spine, the cover gets extra hard. But it’s a terrific size, just the right scale and heft for a proper monograph. It gets the job done.

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

What’s next for you?

Checkout ovmlove.com for a few teaser images. Other than that, I’m always painting and teasing things on twitter.com/jamesjeanart

I’ve seen you do really quick drawings, I was hoping you could make a sketch in a minute or two that I could use for this interview? It could be a drawing of yourself or relate to something we talked about.


James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

Thanks for talking with me James!

Hey, thanks for support and daily bits of inspiration!

James Jean REBUS book interview and giveaway

If you’d like to win the signed copy of James Jean’s new book REBUS, leave a comment here with your best Scrabble word, if you don’t play just that’s ok, just make one up (it worked for my stupid friend).

I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday! Good luck!

Jeff Hamada is the Founder and Editor of Booooooom. He lives and works in Vancouver.

  • Anthony C.

    Best Scrabble word: Atlatl

    • HOoo boy, I love Jeans’ work. gimme that book, NOW!
      please, I actually require it.

  • I am suuuuuch a big fan, winning this book would be exultafablerifficalicious… Please?

  • Sorry, wrong email addy!

  • Kava for 84 points! Best. ever.

  • Nga Luu


  • Yeah. I love James Jean. This book would look so good beside the one of Joe Sorren :)

    quersemmeln ,it´s german and makes no sense :), but it was fun to argue it to my opponents

  • Daniel Morales

    Winning this book would make me the most hippochilasticallying person in my block.

  • Annie


  • QUIZZES! Oh I would love to own this book!

  • Qi best way to get rid of that Q at the end of the game!

  • King Quentin


  • Emma

    cwtch x x x

  • supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

    Godddd, I want this book, I adore the man.


  • Please and thanks!

  • Douglas Forsyth


    As in, I’d quite like you to bequeath that copy of ‘Rebus’ to me.

  • Quijibo, a balding, fat, North American ape with no chin.

  • Judy

    I don’t really play Srabble but I’m such a fan. Here’s my word, discombobulated. O.o

  • ANTIPHLOGISTIC (adj.) – 1. Reducing inflammation or fever; anti-inflammatory 2. Won me 50 bucks in Scrabble

  • just a casual OXYPHENBUTAZONE !

  • Olympia

    O L Y M P I A
    1 1 4 3 3 1 1

  • Mine was ‘Toolkit’ right off the bat, so I got 50-point bonus as well as double score! However, the next turn my brother ALSO scored a 7-letter word and evened out the score…


    Horcruxes, a seemingly ordinary object in which one uses dark magic to put a part of your sol into.


  • timo

    ‘LEVEL’… only 8 points

    BUT YOU CAN READ IT BACKWARDS! woooooohooo! :)

  • I think EDENTULOUS is a funny one :)

  • Orion



    ANUBIS. that word usually does the trick for me :)

  • Stanley


  • kumquat!

  • My favorite scrabble word: kwyjibo

  • nana


    audrey hepburn’s fav word in my fair lady!

  • Qintar – You know, for when you don’t have a “U,” Qi is already on the board or you’re traveling to Albania.

  • Phaedra

    Ventriloquistic – big words are fun!

  • Danica

    Quirkier for 128 points :)

  • ZZZ

  • TheG

    knickerbockers! Yes it’s possible in 2 turns :)

  • Aoki

    WHISKEYS !!!!!

    Besides, it’s what I drank the first time I saw the work of James Jean
    I felt so void next to him………

  • Mostro


  • One time when I was a 8 I was playing Scrabble with my Grandma and she played the word “sex” and I started crying.

  • Juan Garcia

    Adze. A tool used for smoothing or carving rough-cut wood in hand woodworking.

    Love James Jean. Never won anything in my life. hope i win.

  • KJ

    viewing James Jean’s work usually causes my mind to implode onto itself as my soul transcends into another dimension. I need this book.

    scrabble word – Australopithecus?


  • Alea

    I once payed ZEALOUS on a triple word, using all of my words, to END THE GAME. 16 x 3 + 50= I SRSLY WON.

  • Gary Merrin


  • Jessica

    Ah this book looks neato! It’d be awesome to own.
    As for my word… Zombify can get you 76 points!

  • Vernacular.

    That’s pretty great.

  • encore

    damnit james, i was gonna say QI.

    liquidization & infrequently are some good ones i’ve played before

  • Alea

    ahem, all of my letters i meant :)

    also to be mathematically correct: (16 x 3) + 50!

    yaaaaaa James Jean!

  • fuchsia

    as in the color that wanted to be pink but ended un punk.

  • Winning this book would make me unexceptionably, inexplicability, inextricability happy :D!

  • smorgasbord.

  • anticonventional~

  • a s p h y x y


  • lau

    james jean is my favourite contemporary artist, hands down. and the fact that he seems like a super fucking cool guy is awesome too. :D

    scrabble word – quixotry

    which seems extra applicable in this case. definition: visionary schemes.

  • Zeena


  • Amy

    Syzygy! I can’t remember how many points it was, but I know I earned the angry glare from my opponent. :)

  • Fernando Monge

    Sashagreyphilia, no? It exists! I swear

  • Jason

    QUIZ on the triple Word

  • SCRABBLE WORD: Quixotry

  • Vinh

    How about I share my least favorite word, but most favorite when I need a quick points bump? Qi or Qis. I try to get this in a triple letter or triple word score.

  • Jana


  • Rositsa Ivanova

    The best word ever on scrabble is QUIXOTRY with 365 points, but it’s a boring one therefore i would say SQEEZE with 77 points xD awesome idea btw!

  • Im in México so I play in spanish, and once I won with “wey” wich means something like dude… but everyone complain because it also could be written as “guey”…. but I won!

  • Quirk!

  • Sean Adams

    Quartz Not only can you run an electric charge through it to keep time, but it also gets rid of 2 of the pesky letters with q and z

  • Jeff Gaskell


  • Stacy

    Trying to put the word ‘oldballs’ while playing with my grandma. She wouldn’t let me.

  • ZA

  • QUIZ… it’s just a matter of getting that elusive ‘U’

  • Frances

    AI – a three toed sloth! and fun to shout, especially if I win this book!!!

  • spezzatura

  • frank z


  • Gunzfree


  • I made COITUS just by adding U and I.

  • David D.

    I love James Jean’s art. Even more than I love the word QUIM.

  • Samara Hodges



  • James Boswell


  • Aletude

  • WACKY is a great way to get some points. I almost chose rebus just because.

    This book would be so awesome to have

  • james dean

    hahaha OURARI is my word. not going to lie…I totally googled that word XP

    JAMES JEAN!!!!! …whoa I almost have the same name… sweetness :)

  • Cool to hear that he wasn’t just doing comic covers back in the day!

    My best scrabble word: Asinine.

  • Olee

    “Quidnunc” is a good bingo word. But “qi” can get you out of a pinch!

  • I once put down “viziers” for some insane number of points.

  • quixotic.

  • Ruby Chen

    QAT… when placed strategically, it has great power.

  • DnlHrrs


  • Azahar

    ABECEDARIANS, the Grandpops is a pastor so the big church words win me the points.

  • XYLYLS – best Scrabble word ever, at least during that one game where this helped me demolish my aunt and uncle who are Scrabble freaks

  • vacuum.

  • malevolent! muahahahaa (vanishes in a puff of deep purple smoke)

  • Richard Adams

    Scrabble word: EXODUS

    Would absolutely love a signed copy of the book


  • Patrick Jordan

    Waxworks. Thank you, and yes please to the contest.

  • Jazzy!

  • “Racecar” (which is racecar backwards.)

  • Jaclyn B

    ‘jinx’ for 100!! Best ever!

  • Dan

    i’m pretty awful at scrabble, but one time i pulled off “kerfuffle”.
    it was a proud day.

  • I don’t play scrabble. But one of my favorite words is Defenestrate, which I learned in my 6th grade Latin class. It means to throw someone out of a window. Most likely to kill them, which was how the Romans liked to roll.

    James Jean is an amazing artist and I need this book to fill the void in my heart that knows I will never be rich enough to own an original piece.

  • sj

    nice interview by the way.

  • Triumphable

  • Damien

    Great interview.

    My best scrabble word:

    Boom, indeed.

  • Per

    I really like to use ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ when possible, but the finnish word for soap salesman is much more exquisite, since it’s also a palindrome: sauppiakaippuas.

  • Unassuming yet high scoring,’PATCHING’is one of my best.

  • Jenny B


  • Vixen

  • Sesquioxidizing!!
    meaning the creation of a sesquioxide, which contains 3 oxygen atoms and two radicals.

  • All depends on the placement, but HAZED was a huge score once.

  • Simone B


    which i put down as a JOKE thinking it meant “to text someone lewd comments and photos of yourself” but really it means “the fourth of the seven canonical hours, or the service for it, originally fixed for the sixth hour of the day taken as noon.” so that’ll learn me.

    used in a sentence: if idolatry is forbidden, then you’ve caught me looking at this book and sinning during sext services.

  • quixotic!!

  • Jiggs Undaloc

    ha. scrabble and james jean, i love this article!
    i remember scoring 56 points off of ‘ZAX’. i remember that because that was the first time i beat my coach at scrabble

  • rebus

  • Corey

    “eleemosynary”!!!!!!! this word won me the game!

  • Patrick Garcia

    Xenophobia. Hope I win!

  • Alice

    zoea is my favorite. Shrimp larval stage.

  • Oh golly, I would so very, very much love to win this. I’m a huge fan of James Jean’s work.

    Scrabble word? Cocaine. Yep. Double points.

  • I love everything that man does. Total fan girl.

    My word is: Quadragesimarian


    or ZOMBIFICATIONS is pretty awesome…

  • “Mustered”
    It was then argued that I had misspelled “Mustard”.
    Love the James Jean interview . Keep up the good work.

  • Greg

    . fugue .

  • Ow i definitely wanna get that book… so I take chance with: TAXIWAY !

  • How about “Rebus”?

  • Sam


    i made it up ._.

    I think there needs to be ‘scrabble – ascii art’

  • ‘Allotetraploids’

  • Herrenz


  • Alicia G.Theile

    KIWI, and it also works in my spanish scrabble.

  • zest

    ya cant go wrong with quahogs! or zone- my friends hate that one puahah~

  • Kiersten

    Best word is probably dog, because I’m awful at scrabble!
    Much love for James!

  • Tom W

    I was able to get Xanadu once. Sadly, there was nowhere for me to use it on the board. lol

  • chris

    vow is usually a good one you can lay down almost anywhere, and the points on the v and w double and triple nicely :D

  • Zoo. I’m gonna go with zoo.

  • Carolyn

    best scrabble word: scum

  • Jesse

    James Jean is a fantastic artist. I love his work.


  • QI with tripple letter Q.

  • sarsaparilla

  • georgia weitenberg
  • Xi! :D

  • liquifies

  • who?


  • brad


  • Cattywampus

  • ariel

    coagulate, duh.

  • Ericka


  • Jessica m

    Quartz!! Quartz is the game winner.

  • Sean

    sequoia-all five vowels ftw

  • Edge


    When I was younger it used to boggle my mind how one would describe what ‘what’ meant without using the word what… >.<

    Oh James, I love your work!

  • nickelcurry

    I am not good at Scrabble, but I love James Jean, so maybe that’s enough? If not, um.. Quarrelsome. That sounds like it might be good.

  • Terry Shearn

    Excommunicate…is my world and would dearly love love love a copy of that beautiful book….

  • Sarah



  • rachel

    fugue had to be my best try so far.

  • Travis Cole

    My favorite Scrabble word is “lichen.” It sits there on the board, simple and unpresuming, formed by the interaction of two organisms.

  • I met my buddys mom at lunch in NYC, we play scrabble and the first word I get is Anus.

  • Ken

    My best scrabble word would have to be QUARTZ and it was on my next turn.

  • Sophia

    endozoic or endexine

    those x’s and zs are killer

    xylophone is a good standby

  • pamela


    (also a fan of QI)

  • OX

  • rosie



  • Kevin

    Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, the longest word ever to appear in an English language dictionary.

  • nika vargas

    parangaricutirimicuaro: Its the name of a town in mexico :) Love this one because has made me won a few times

  • Mariah

    i used ‘STUPEFY’ for a 52 word point score. worked deliciously as a harry potter commemoration AND as a way of ensuring i’d disable my opponent and win the game. :D

  • bea

    QI – so many points for so little letters.

  • Kii

    Seems like I’m not the only one who has used juxtapose~

  • Naomi

    I played the word ‘phoniest’ in a game yesterday, it ain’t the funniest word ever but I scored a muthatruckin load of points :) james is my hero, I’ve got five of his prints adorning my walls plus I have skrewl for my dribblings and rift. Please please please pick moi

  • ” SOGGY “

  • Dean

    CRUMBOBBLIOUS, courtesy of Edward Lear’s nonsensical cookery recipes.

  • sandy ballardini


  • jeremy

    Jean is also a very good scrabble word.

  • Fanny

    JO and some other J-word with the J on a triple word. Best Scrabble game I played, ever!

  • Rory-Ann


    My love for Jame Jean’s Art, both illustrations and recent fine art gives me parosysms.

  • Alia


  • Kalpesh


    • Simone B

      the prettiest idea!!

  • Chelsea


  • jake


  • k8

    I got 140 points once! I think it was with two bonuses and… PORTENTS? But that seems low-scoring… I can’t remember the word anymore ):

    I managed to get a whole bunch of dirty words on the board when I was playing with my boyfriend, he was kinda annoyed haha

  • Lauren


    (Fingers crossed!)
    Yay for James Jean!

  • psychopathology for 1026 points! Or my favorite word in or out of scrabble, Flapjack..306 -points!

    There would be nothing better than to read this book while enjoying a flapjack! :O)

    I love you james jean you are an inspiration!

  • My favorite Scrabble word is probably “Ass,” because it provides a decent amount of opportunity for the next player to add-on.

  • NO CLUE. Zonoscope

  • Harriet

    best scrabble word: boom!

  • marie

    caterwaul :>

  • Quijibo – A fat, balding, North American ape with no chin. First used in a Scrabble by Bart Simpson.

    Good interview – much appreciated.

  • dj

    James Jean!


  • OH!! I would love to win a James Jean book! That would just be the best thing that happened all year! My scrabble word for 77 points is Jukebox

  • I love James Jean.

    Best Scrabble word: Pyx.

  • “Defenestration”

    Not the highest scoring word, but certainly something worth throwing out.

  • Ruell


  • Marilyn Souza


  • The best word in scrabble…rebus! :O)

  • TIm Yerrington

    Ain’t nobody like James Jean! His work is dope!

  • I’m pretty happy when I can use WHISKEY in a game!

  • Dee

    :D “Pilfer”

    This would be a great gift for my best friend who absolutely adores James Jean! :)

  • Bethany

    Quadrilateral, best word evaaaa! but I didn’t even win :(

  • Jerrrrrry


  • jaycie


  • holly


  • Quail!


    thin walled spores on fungi.
    just sounds cool too.

  • Andrew


  • lindsey a

    my best word two nights ago was queef. really.

  • Dr Dave

    QUERY… nie interview!

  • Douglas Cootey

    AMRITA. That which is immortal. I just played it a few moments ago!

  • J O H N


  • quite the double entendre there, sir

  • Jordan

    “Obrotund”. Not the most elaborate word, but still. Any foreign curse word is a good bet as well.

  • urbodyelectric


    Triple Word Score for the WIN !!!!

  • Kat

    CHUTZPAH is the greatest scrabble word of all time!

  • Cwm – a valley, especially one created by glacial movement

  • chris g

    Jackie Chan .

  • SOLUBLE – I had some lucky letters so I got to use all my pieces on the first word!

  • phon


  • Yoshi

    It’s really not very elegant but my word of choice is ‘zits’. I was playing Scrabble a few days ago and used it twice in two games. It’s good for when you’re running out of vowels, you don’t have much space to work in and you need to stop your friends from using that triple word score.

  • Amber

    scrabble word: axolotl

  • gia

    nocheeeeeeee, thank

  • Veronica

    physics :-)

  • lost.ghost

    word: predominant
    trying to deliver the message, who will be the winner in the end.. ;)

  • how about knolling

  • rebecca

    zimbabwean :)

  • WERQ as in Fierce Tranny You Bettah Werq!

  • Rebecca

    Rebus looks pretty amazing, and zephyr is my word!

  • sginue

  • Alexander M

    relaxin was my best, and its not a slang version of relaxing, its some hormone women release during childbirth. strange.

  • Caroline


  • WYVERN. at first i didnt think i had anything. but then BAM

  • Joe

    Can’t wait to see more of the new book!

    Best Scrabble word: MUZHIK

  • Jason

    I’ve only played scrabble once, nothing comes to mind, so I’ll say ‘birthday’ cause its my birthday tomorrow. Coincidence?

  • How about quinine? Only since Quijibo is taken …

    I would LOVE a copy of this book. It’d be my first James Jean collection.

  • Iain


  • Jeers!!

  • Low Yi Ching

    QAT : easy to use, works well in tight places, u can chew it! yay!

    bookkk.. i wanttttt… but if you have the first volume of process recess.. would love to own that as well =P
    greed is good…

  • ZIT! It was my first word on my first game.

  • I don’t know if this will work…

    J E F F H A M A D A _ _ _ _ _
    A _ _ _ _ R _ _ _ N _ _ _ _ _
    M _ _ _ _ T _ _ _ I _ _ _ _ _
    E _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ M U S I C _
    S K E T C H _ _ _ A _ _ _ _ _
    J _ _ _ U _ _ P _ T _ _ _ _ _
    E _ _ _ L _ _ H _ I _ _ L _ _
    A _ _ _ T _ B O O O O O O O M _
    N _ _ _ U _ _ T _ N _ _ T _ _
    _ _ _ _ R _ _ O _ _ _ _ U _ _
    _ _ _ _ E _ _ _ R E B U S _ _
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    • Hannah Roisin

      I vote this comment to win :]

  • my best scrabble word was : toxic.
    yeah lame, but still i’d love to have a copy of this XD

  • My word is “nejkulaťoulinkatější” it means most-roundlinest-ever in Czech language.

  • matt



  • Damon Maire


    I’m done my fangirl squeal.
    best scrabble word would have to be “razbliuto”

  • Visceral.

    I had the pleasure of meeting James Jean alongside Sheldon Vella and the gang from ELEPHANTMEN two years ago.

    Inspiration at its finest! He was humble, polite, and friendly mixed in one.

  • connie

    for the irony, going with “ANTICOMPETITIVE” (that’s like…24 scrabble points)

    hope i win, love james jean-!

  • Bec

    Schmexcellentosity = meaning the measurement of volume of a happy squee (mine would range in the high frequency range if I won)


    Anyway, Rebus looks amazing! James Jean is the coolest.

  • Scrabble word: Behoove

  • Richard

    Yes for 6

  • Kay

    JINXED with J on a 3xL and X on 3xW and D falling one short of the last row ensuring opponent can’t use the nearby 3xW tile ;)

  • Chris

    My favorite word is “dozens.” Got me 111 points.

  • Hannah Jane

    (Won me the game! It started with “cut” then “cute” then “cuter” then BAM “charcuterie”)

  • Shaun

    my best scrabble word is likely: “wivern”

  • piecrust

  • roy


  • Taylor


  • Ben

    Ox. I tend to lose.

  • zephyr

  • Emily


  • SUQS

  • CosbyCow. I was disqualified (probably because the W spilled off the playing surface), but still felt like a true winner.

  • Clement Ducerf

    this artist is something… already love is drawing in moleskine sketchbook but here theses painting really have something more…very deep, very powerful….
    Well i’m not english native but my word will be “AWESOME” ! :)

  • Guillotine…My hat’s always off to Mr. Jean, and I am ALWAYS losing my head over Scrabble. My Father does indeed refer to himself as an executioner when it comes to this cursed game.

  • sesquioxidizing

  • scrabble word: ZYGOMORPHIES
    Thank you!

  • dehydration – 2 turns

  • Meiso, meaning “straying” in Japanese. In the case foreign words aren’t allowed I liked to believe it applies to the phrase “Meiso Horny.”

  • timothylupinek




  • Joel

    Aa! It’s a kind of lava. Helps to get rid of vowels when you have too many…

  • karen M

    Scrabble word:

    the only q word that doesn’t need a u.

  • “Mazzard.” A wild, sweet cherry. Big kisses.

  • Lucky! that’s my word!

  • cayce

    someone else claimed “syzygy,” so I’ll go with
    “zugzwang,” the situation in chess where the play has to make a move, but all options are bad. I would love this book, of course. Who wouldn’t?

  • empty house


  • Quork

  • Matt Datchuk


  • Adrian

    “ZARF”! Got my 108 points once upon a time!

  • Grant

    JISM – High scoring and funny :-)

  • Dany

    The Netherlands Needs a copy of your work!!! 8)

    • Dany

      Scrabble word is JamesOOvisionZ

  • Danny

    HYDRATE-Something I got to do this Summer.

  • Shea Kennedy

    Shakespeare invented like thousands and thousands of words we still use today so I think I can at least give one a go. Here it is “DRIGGLES.” I think it sounds at least somewhat plausible as an actual word.

  • Easton S

    “Dendrofilous” is a cool word i learned today but is not a valid scrabble word. That is irrelevant. Im going to go with “Glabella”-The space on your forehead between your eyebrows. I dont have one

  • Nezar Nielsen


  • Marie

    “Skylark” definition:to frolick. awesome word.

  • AWL


  • Joanna


  • Na

    Quiz on a tw 72points. I had to wait for a u and blocked my opponent with a d underneath (to make id) in the hOpes of getting a u. I won that game by 10 points. Would’ve lost without quiz haha

  • Inextricability. BOOOOOOOM!

  • Zandzeepsodemineraalwatersteenstralen

    That’s in Dutch, it basically means ‘fuck off’

  • nino


  • “Penis” During a family game. Awkward start.

    “si” for Spanish scrabble.

    Awesome interview! James Jean’s incredibly inspiring, can’t wait to see the book!

  • The first reaction was Semaj! O_O (James)

    Australian urban slang substitute for “fuc*”. Used as a profanity when fuc* has been hackneyed or is simply too cliche.

  • Jessie

    My best word was WOOZY and it got me 114 points :)
    Would love the book! James Jean is awesome!!!!

  • It would have to be the longest word! Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

    Shortly followed by antidisestablishmentarianism.

    Although I don’t know that either would fit on the Scrabble board…

  • Conor Burke

    sesquipedalophobia – the fear of long words

  • ZYGOTE… look it up…won the most epic game because of this word! “i want to create a Zygote with your signed edition “

  • Wicked interview!!! I dont play scrabble often enough but my word for this comp would be: Nomenclature. I find pronouncing each part of this word an absolute delight, the meaning is pretty dope too!

  • Pia


  • “Explosion” !!

  • Edgar


    (Not made up!, it’s a Dutch word for the fear of Friday the 13th)

  • Sitz: Gave me 64 points. Girlfriend was best pleased tho….

  • Awesome work!! and great interview this guy has wit!
    my word
    Deoxyribonucleic acid
    ok so its two but we are all made of it and it rolls of the tongue like a dream!!

  • Sara Perkins

    This book looks incredible!
    and my best scrabble word ever (no lie) was queaf because at the time I did not actually know what it meant (did I mention I was playing with my grandma?)

  • ‘Gwynty’, the name of my grandparents dog and welsh for ‘storm’.

  • I don’t play scrabble but one of my favourite words is “cellardoor”. or “Hippopotamus”. I guess I’ll stick with “Hippopotamus” yeah. I’d love to win a copy.

  • purdoozler. if i was playing balderdash right now i’d probably define it as “a member of the feline family when displaying the contentment of a perfect comfortability”. if i was playing scrabble i’d probably try and bullshit that definition in the same way…

  • Darkangelraine

    Confuzzled… Technically my word but I love it!

  • Ana

    I never played scrabbled and I don’t even know the rules of the game but ok so : eloquent

    lol idk.

    The book seems amazing though.
    I hope I win :)

  • anticonstitutionnellement – thanks for this giveaway !!!

  • Here’s one that’s possible, gets a few points: quorum.

  • ‘ZOO’ simple, but effective, especially when used on the double point squares etc :D

    James Jean is such an inspiration to me. I’m an art student, so this spectacular new book of his would be a wonderful addition to my small collection of art books!

  • Josephl

    You sunk my battle-ship!

  • chris

    ‘Zareba’ a protective enclosure, as of thorn bushes, particular of Sudan.

  • Alex

    Chutzpah – bitchin score especially if you land on triple word score!

    – this is in the players dictionary

  • Once some friends and I were playing Scrabble the old-school way and decided to only allow words with sexual connotations (we’re very mature), and at the end someone came up with “mulestation” which is pronounced like a cross between “mule” and “molestation”. We allowed it, and it is my favorite.

    I’ve been following James Jean for years and years now but this is the first interview I’ve read. I’m glad to know my favorite artists is funny as well!

  • Robbie


  • Lucas


  • alyshia


  • ben

    Quiz. Drop that on a triple word score!

  • Stefan


  • Serena

    Zephyr would be the best word i manage to achieve in scrabble once.

  • Nancy

    Love the interview, love the book. He’s such a great artist and I’d really like to have a copy of his ‘Rebus’.

    For the scrabble word: “Onomatopoeia”.

  • George

    Zygomatic’s always a classic.

  • My best Words with Friends word ever was LIZARD attached to OILIER and NIP, also creating PI for 116 points! :)

    I’d love to play James in Words with friends!! :)

  • Hoang Nguyen


  • HAMAD A.

  • M. Gordy

    TAXES. (I’m better at Connect 4)

  • minnow


  • AQUATINT (84 pts)

  • abstrkt!!


  • Arin

    James’ work is truly amazing! Thanks for posting the interview!
    My best Scrabble word was Quashed on a triple word multiplier for 104 pts.

  • JINX to everyone else but me!!(and the other two who posted the same word…)

  • Once lost to the word dovetail.
    Would also make for a good James Jean title.

  • Leonardo


  • SP


  • Richard

    get me off

  • Droolin


  • Semantics.

  • schistosoma \o/

  • bryan park



  • Leonardo


  • haha so many replies my word:
    + Supercalifragilisticoexpialidoso + marry poppins magic, but in SPANISH jaja

  • Tom Young

    GLOBULE – It’s the coolest sounding word in the English language.

  • Matt

    This book looks DYNAMITE. (maybe not the best scrabble word, but one of the best that I’ve ever played.)

  • Chris

    Gingerbeer! But I’m not a very good player.

  • “BONER”

    Then send a message to the random opponent you are playing that says “Automatic win!”

  • Amiee

    I love this!!

    CINQ – The number five, as signified in dice or cards

  • Kc


  • joy


  • Gestalt!

  • Yue

    (OuO ) I want!

    Hmmm…. a scrabble word : QINDARKA

  • Caitlin

    my favorite word for anything right now is ‘betwixt’
    and it would make a great scrabble word, I think. Always hard to cram those x’s somewhere.

  • Brett

    I fucked up someone’s life with ‘DELTOIDS’ the other day. It’s not flashy, nor is it filled with huge multi-point letters, but when I dropped that big bitch across two TWs and a DL, using all my letters in the process, my opponent knew the game was all but over. Delt smash, baby.

  • Jesse Wilcox

    my best word i ever did in scrabble was quizzical on a triple word score

  • candice


  • Fanelle

    “Anticonstitutionnellement” (longest word in French)

  • Philip


  • rizzuto

  • I once got 103 points for the word JAWEL…..I can now die a happy person….but this book would be the icing on the cake!

  • Chloe


    I don’t even know how to play scrabbles.

  • Rui

    inexplicability for 1080 pts!

  • qi! I want to win just a bit more then everyone else.

  • ‘logophilia’



  • Wylesol

    my best word: quieted

  • sarah wesley


  • Caetano

    Transillumination. I like the way it sounds.

  • Anish

    epiphany. it’s such a pretty word, so it kicked butt when i was down by 14 pts. and won using this word.



    A Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means “feathered-serpent”

    A friend of mine had put QUETZAL (A type of bird) and I added COATL

  • Miscellaneous. Almost impossible to get it right.

  • kwyjibo:
    A big, dumb, balding North American ape. With no chin and a short temper

  • SRG


  • Cervix

    I was going to say Quixotic, but someone beat me to the punch. Anyway, it’s a good way to get rid of an X. I sometimes have trouble ridding myself of V’s as well.

  • QIBLA! telling scrabble that you don’t need a U to get your Q on a triple word score

  • JJJJJJJeaneology – the study of one James Jean (yes in my version you would have 7 j’s to work with)

  • Ramille

    I’m the worst at words with friends. One I used recently; taenias.

    Great interview! Looking forward to seeing more of JJ’s work.

  • Christine

    كنت رائعة – in Arabic
    ти са фантастични – in Bulgarian
    je bent fantastisch – in Dutch
    तुम शानदार रहे हैं – in Hindi

  • Not for nothing, but just today I was urging my friend to use “ortolan” in Scrabble. Not a lot of points, not even sure it is in the dictionary, but creepy.

  • dan



  • Emma D


    (A special Betelgeusian word used when something should be said but the speaker does not know what it should be)

  • Erica Mao


  • ‘Conversations’. Something I find in many of his pieces.

  • Soory but I just googled it.

    2 Letter Words

    AX 9 EX 9 JO 9 OX 9 XI 9 XU 9
    BY 7 HM 7 MY 7

    3 Letter Words

    JIZ 19 ZAX 19
    ZEK 16
    FEZ 15 FIZ 15 PYX 15 WIZ 15
    BEZ 14 BIZ 14 COZ 14 CUZ 14 KEX 14 ZAP 14 ZIP 14

    4 Letter Words

    QUIZ 22
    JEEZ 20
    FOZY 19 HAZY 19 JAZz 19 WHIZ 19
    CHEZ 18 COZY 18 JEUX 18 JINX 18 JOKY 18 MAZY 18 QOPH 18 ZYME 18

    5 Letter Words

    JAZzY 23

    6 Letter Words

    MUZJIK 28
    QUEAZY 27
    EXEQUY 25

    7 Letter Words

    MUZJIKS 79

  • Agnes

    I’m going to assume ‘vivacious’ is a great word to use.
    I’ve been admiring James Jean’s work for ages, his book looks utterly fantastic.

  • best scrabble word hmmmmm


    that book looks like total sweetness
    James Jean Rebus is ridiculous awesome!!!

  • STeve

    Real life pokémon!

  • It would definitely be axolotl for me!

  • Sui

    Quixotic!! :DDDD

  • joshdrilling

    the word someone else plays on a triple word score

  • nene

  • Ladylike. +50

  • Alex

    I like QUERULOUS. It requires someone to leave “US” hanging out there. After which they’re likely to get a bit querulous.

  • Liliana Conde


    This book is a necessary source of inspiration in my life right now…
    much love.


  • Heidi

    Beautiful looking book.
    My word would be BARONG

  • quixotic – Exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical
    Art lovers word …..

  • P S E U D O N Y M

  • DADA

  • Joost the Host

    I’m following him since around then too Jeff. He’s one of my favourite artists and i already have some of his printed matter, but it seems like i’m not able to get this one, because i live in the little tiny country called the netherlands.

    My word:
    WALLYDRAIGLE – The scientific term for the little spiral at the end of a pig’s tail

    Awesome word!

  • Hannah Roisin

    axolotl is the ultimate scrabble word. just like james’ paintings i’m entranced by them. + i’m pretty sure x is a 10 point letter.

  • Kevin Par

    I’m not an avid scrabble player but when I do get the chance I like to throw down the word “POOP.” :)

  • asseocarnisanguineoviscericartilaginonervomedullary – Structure of the human body

    i can study sasha grey’s asseocarnisanguineoviscericartilaginonervomedullary all day!!

  • Naomi


  • Angela


    It is a simple word that gains a lot of points, especially when combined with colored squares and/or when used to build upon another word.

  • oreka

    ‘Kitsch’- meaning tastelessness or bad taste in Art.

    lol when I used this word in Scrabble, my friends were yelling at me and insisting that this was NOT a word; thank God for Google lmfao. And so, this word DOES NOT, in no such way, apply to James Jean lol. His name should be seen as the opposite of this word because his work displays only EXCELLENCE and SIMPLICITY yet, complexity at the same time. I LOVE James and he is SUCH an inspiration to me.

    Win or lose, I’ll be getting this book ;D

  • mmatt

    “fireants” was the final word that defeated the computer in scrabble (the computer game)and forever placed humans on the board
    humans-1 robots-0

    robots can suck it

  • Oh how I wish I played Scrabble, but let me give it a shot anyway, anything for a free James Jean book :)

    “ambivelous” – having equally bad ability in both hands, something I’m sure James Jean is not!

  • Katie


    A not to shabby 13 points and you get rid of an x (I swear I get every x in every game I play)

  • Dezba


  • Morgan

    Sadly, I’ve never played scrabble before. However, I really like the word BEERIEST.

    loved the interview.

  • matthew b

    “myxomatosis” i thought was always a beautiful word, and an awesome song !

  • epistemological rupture, contrapasto and monotonous and lao-te-se are my favorite words

  • Margaret

    I am not a scrabble player, though I’d like to be, so I’m going with a word that’s a reason why I’m not: ABSENTMINDEDNESS

  • Yearn

  • Zqfmgb:
    A worm found in New Guinea.

  • Mezzanines is a great word to play. In fact, it is my favorite word.

  • Shannon

    Second play in last night’s Scrabble game ‘HOLDINGS’ on a triple word score and using all letters for 95 points, BAM!!

    Great interview!

  • “CLUCK” for 25 and “WO” 5 points on my ipod app
    and I “WO”N!!! xD

    nice interview + and pics looking great!

  • afs


  • CJ


  • Karla

    Qi!!! Easy points. Specially if played on a triple word.

    NICE interview! :D

  • JC KIM

    I’ve always liked the word ZENITH: the highest point reached in the heavens by a celestial body

  • S


  • James

    ” reality ” is a good one

  • “Zoantharians” yeah I rocked it and it was all a guess.

  • Khmer is a pretty wicked one :P

  • Booooooom


  • “antidisestablishmentarianism”

    Give me the book, please!

  • Would you give this awesome book to a great fan from Rio de Janeiro who actually lives in a wild jungle and couldn´t afford it?

  • Dante


  • I love words. Best word: Phosphorescent. (It means to glow without emitting head.)

    If you can remember to spell it correctly.

  • Correction to previous comment.

    I meant heat, not head. Woops!

  • Nick Chen

    Many people have already said it – but i love playing the word QI.

    But one of the words i was most proud of making was LORDSHIP, where i added onto the R of the tail end of Vexer (another word i used!)

  • scott

    qi has saved my butt so many times…

  • Zach




  • HiHiHiHiHiHihI


  • played scrabble with my mum in the south of france t’other day and my favourite was ‘coagulate’

  • QI

  • pissflaps

  • erm zapping!

  • I was always horrible in Scrabble…
    its not that i have bad grammar and an extensive vocab, its just im cursed in games.

    best word was ZEPHYR.

  • “ghastly” love that word! :)

  • JW

    If I had the letters, defenestrate.

  • I honestly don’t play much Scrabble but QUATTUORDECILLIONS seemed to be a pretty good word.

    I honestly do love James Jean’s work, and getting my hands on Rebus is something I look forward to very much – in whatever way it ends up in my hands.

  • Glenn Davies

    Favorite scrabble word: xylophone.

  • Jes R

    My favorite scrabble word is ‘zygote’, if you get it on a triple word it scores amazingly.

  • XI is practically the only word that I can use “x” with. :) It’s either a Greek letter or a Chinese Vassal state.

  • Dina

    Wish I was kidding. My friend beat me using it once and I’ve been using it whenever I can ever since. Try it for yourself! :D

  • 陶荷西


  • CATERPILLAR is the best word I tell you :)

  • Bodega

  • Whisky!! That’s my word, not what I drink!! ;-)
    In France we drink wine!
    I love James Jean! Thank you so much for this interview, that’s very interesting!

  • Moasty

    It’s not my best word ever but last week I won a crapload of points for tagging “stonier” onto the end of “quest” (making it “quests”). Triple word score, seven-letter bonus AND the extra points from “quests”!

    Wonderful interview. I <3 James.

  • and the word is: pandalicious

  • Lissome

  • I dont really play scrabble, but I guess if I did, I’d try to use “graphite”, “Zetsubou”, or “polymorphus” in there somewhere.

    I obviously dont know how to play scrabble but I love James Jean.

  • SIPI :D
    “Sipi is a part of the body.”

  • Jessica Jackson

    I’ve never played scrabble but I like the word Haboob.

  • I once got 84 points for the word mixes in words with friends! Like James, my favorite is qi. I have a lifelong futile quest to use antidisestablishmentarianism…

  • Dave

    Aaaaaaaaaand, the best scrabble word ever is: Bently. Because it makes 15 year olds laugh.

  • KB

    ‘CORUSCATION’ and ‘LUMINOUS’ are pretty great, Scrabble or otherwise.

  • My favourite scrabble word: Quasi
    Love your work james & jeff great interview q’s!

  • karen

    Never played scrabble, but I’m gonna go with

  • Tiffany L.


    Home of the adorable Ewoks. :)

  • XOQI

    And put the X after someone else’s word ending in X, like AX or SAX.


  • hmmmm UNDYED

  • Chris

    I love James Jean my word would be joust.

  • Suq!

  • Danielle


  • Zackry Young

    Za or insomnia

  • Zackry Young


  • Caio


  • trip

    shadenfreude :

    satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

  • Sara

    Zeitgeist. Qwerty.

  • Azure. It was the last word played, hit the triple word score and helped my brother beat me at Scrabble by wiping out a 50+ point deficit… Now all he has to say to get me riled up is “Azurrrrre.” Which he does. Often.


    You have won yourself a signed copy of James Jean’s new book REBUS. Check your inbox!

    Thanks to everyone for participating, stay tuned for more giveaways!

  • Marie Michele Bergeron

    Bonnerific! :D

  • Such a great inspiration of this age.

22.08.17 by Jeff

Illustrator Spotlight: Peter Judson

A selection of works from a series by illustrator Peter Judson based on day to day images he shoots with his phone. See more below.

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Andrea Wan iMessage Stickers

Our talented friend Andrea Wan has just released a fun collection of 60+ iMessage stickers! Check out the sticker app HERE or search for ‘Andrea Wan’ in the app store. We have 6 promo codes to giveaway so if you want one leave a comment below with a joke for Andrea. We’ll hook up 6 of you tonight!




22.08.17 by Jeff

Photographer Spotlight: Jamie Ho

A selection of images from “Wayward State” by photographer Jamie Ho, who grew up in Florida and is currently based in Madison, Wisconsin. See more below.

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Artist Spotlight: Alice Fennessy

Drawings and watercolour paintings by artist Alice Fennessy. More images below.

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Photographer Spotlight: Jeff Dietz

A selection of images from “Strange Terrain” by photographer Jeff Dietz. See more below.

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