Saturday, August 10, 2019

Author Panel: The Birth of a Picture Book: Juana Martinez-Neal

Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration for La Princesa and the Pea and the Caldecott Honor for Alma and How She Got Her Name, among others.

"A line is dot that went for a walk" - Paul Klee

This is how Juana's sees her process. Or more like a squiggly line with lots of starts and stops. She says no one wants to follow it because it's chaos.

By the time ALMA was published it had been 8 years since she had the idea. The essence remained the same, inspired by her own name. "How your name changes you and makes you who you are stayed with me."

Juana started with character sketches, these changed many times over the years. Until one day she drew "this" while working on something else.

"Fear is my best friend in my creative process. There's fear and the only thing you can do is act. Only with action you can face your fear. You keep working and working and working."

A quote from Juana's good friend Molly Idle

"All you can control is the action."

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