Guest Post: Michael Mazo and Michael Soloviov

BrothersDo 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:
Mazo gunfight illustration

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:
version 1

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):
version 2

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:
version 3 final

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.

Guest Post: Barbara Azore

Today’s guest post is from Barbara Azore! Barbara is the author of the wonderfully amusing Wanda adventures, illustrated by Georgia Graham. Barbara shares her photos and comments from Wanda and the Wild Hair and Wanda and the Frogs. Today is also the release of the newest Wanda adventures, Wanda’s Freckles!

Wanda's Freckles

 Barbara: This one shows me with a teacher at Chester Ronning School in Camrose, Alberta:Barbara Azore in Camrose, Alberta

Barbara: This picture was taken at Stoke Kindergarten, Nelson, New Zealand: Barbara Azore in Nelson, New Zealand

Barbara Azore: This is a photo of me and my son (Martin) at the book launch for Wanda and the Wild Hair:Launch of Wanda's Wild Hair

Barbara Azore: This is me during READ IN Week in 2005 at George H. Luck School:Barbara Azore at Read In WeekBarbara: They also wrote to me:

You do a great job! Thanks for coming to talk to our students.
George H. Luck School

That’s all for now! Barbara Azore will be participating in READ IN this year from October 5 to 9, 2009.

Guest Post: Laura Beingessner

Today’s guest post is from Laura Beingessner! Laura is the illustrator of Our Corner Grocery Store, written by Joanne Schwartz. Her illustrations have been described as: “folksy” (starred review, School Library Journal), “charming” (CM Magazine), “wonderfully detailed” (Kirkus Reviews), and “glow[s] warmly” (Booklist).

Our Corner Grocery Store

Laura Beingessner: Our corner Grocery Store was a joy to draw. It took me back to my own childhood. Going to the Corner Store for a freezie was always a highlight for me on a hot summer day.

Laura Beingessner and Joanne SchwartzThis is Joanne and I on the day of our book launch. We look like we just had a freezie.

Arts and Craft with Laura BeingessnerHere I am at a Hillcrest school doing an activity with kids. They coloured and pasted up their own corner store picture.