Juana Martinez-Neal was the recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2011 Summer Conference. The 2010 founders of Kidlit Artists would like to officially welcome Juana to the blog, and ask her a few questions about the Mentorship experience and about what she is up to these days.
Kidlit Artists: Getting such specific and direct feedback on your work, did you find the experience enlightening? Affirming? Confusing? Conflicting? Why?
Juana: The experience was interesting for me. First I was excited and grateful to get such great feedback from our Mentors. I was so full of ideas… and notes! As I got back home and to the studio, self-doubt struck me. I couldn't paint for weeks. I was over-thinking the comments and doubting my work. I didn't really know which direction to take until I had to get to work. I had final art to paint for a book that was due in mid September. So with a pending deadline over my head I stopped thinking and just painted. The doubts left as I was getting the work done.
Kidlit Artists: Have you seen a shift in your work since you were mentored?
Juana: Yes, I have. I make an effort to avoid decorating a piece while I'm sketching or painting. I naturally tend to like adding patterns, textures, details so it's a constant fight to achieve "Less is more". And I really have to work hard at doing less.
Kidlit Artists: What kinds of projects are you working on now?
Juana: I'm currently working on a few projects: a chapter book, 2 picture books, and some educational and magazine work. I'll share more as I'm allowed to share artwork and details.
Kidlit Artists: Last, please tell us where we can find you online.
Juana: First, I would like to thank KidLitArtists for the opportunity to join the club and share my work today. You can see more of my work and learn more about me at my website and blog: http://
juanamartinezneal.com/. I'm also on twitter: @juanamartinez, and Facebook: http://www.facebook. com/juanamartinezneal. illustrator
Thank you Juana!