The now former art director of MAD Magazine Sam Viviano reminded me of this project while we were exchanging emails and reminiscing recently. Not only was it my first book with MAD, but it was also one of the toughest deadlines I was ever challenged with.
The book was called Bo Confidential: The Secret Files of America’s First Dog. Bo was, of course, the first pet the Obama’s brought into the White House. He was a 6 month old Portuguese Water Dog, and he got a LOT of media attention. Naturally the folks at MAD thought that was ridiculous, so they quickly wrote a short book and it was rushed to press… and I mean RUSHED. Bo moved into the White House on April 14th of 2009. The final script and layouts for this 96 page book was sent to me on April 30th, calling for 56 total illustrations (a mix of two page full color spreads, one pagers full color, vignette spot illustrations in both color and black and white) plus a cover. The deadline? Three weeks.
If I’m not mistaken the reason for the super short production was in order to make the book part of some major book fair or something like that.
I nailed it, but I didn’t sleep much and I still run away screaming if I see any Portuguese Water Dogs.
The book is small, only 5 x 7.25 inches, so the art did not need to be highly detailed. Otherwise I would never have been able to do it. I’d also be lying if I said it was my best work… but some of them turned out good. Here’s a selection of some of my favorites from the book:
MAD added “Woofs” and Arfs” to the teleprompter in this one in production
I’d tell you to go buy a copy but it’s been out of print for a long time. I only have one copy myself. I don’t think it was a big seller. I’m still waiting for my first royalty check almost 9 years later. Might be a long wait.
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