Do you remember the previous guest post by Michael Mazo and Michael Soloviov? Well now we have a behind-the-scenes look at how the author and illustrator collaborated!
Finding inspiration from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, author Michael Mazo and illustrator Michael Soloviov created their own version of Robert Ford vs. Jesse James. In their adaptation, Julius the Elder and William the Upstart, are the two characters from their debut picture book Brothers.
Michael Mazo: So the illustration that I kindly wanted Mr. Soloviov to create was like this one. As you can see I’ve been taking art classes. One of the dogs is raising his paws in victory. The other is on his knees in defeat. It’s an old western town. It’s meant to look like a gunfight, like the gunfight in Back to the Future 3:
MM: I really wanted Julius to show the utter agony of defeat (like a defeated athlete on his knees). Mr. Soloviov replied with, “Oh yeah, Mike, so you’ve seen a lot of dogs on their knees?” But he is a magician and can do anything. This was the first draft:
MM: I only asked for one correction: to make our hero’s stomachs bigger and stuff their cheeks (especially William because he is the winner):
MM: And this is the final illustration. The only corrections I asked for were to dress the dogs (and put bones where guns would go) and add some hay rolling across the street like in a movie:
MM: And then I kindly asked Mr. Soloviov to take the text I wrote and make it look like it came from an old newspaper. You can see the result by clicking here and click here to view the original New York Times story about Jesse James.