Header Work

Juana Martinez-Neal

Mary Talks

Mary Talks to Baby Jesus - The Little Lutheran/The Litte Christian - December 2011

Mary Talks to Baby Jesus – The Little Lutheran/The Litte Christian – December 2011

Christmas has come and gone and I still have this sorta-Christmassy post to go before I can get to my “Welcome 2012” one. So let’s post it really quick to clear my desk, ok? Great!

I loved this project! From research to final art, it was one of my favorite magazine assignments of 2011. I have to applaud my Art Director. She always brings and encourages a non-traditional vision and that’s why I love working with her. She requested to avoid halos, rays of lights or any more classical depiction of religious art (hence no angels). The main idea was to portray Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus as real people so given the historical and geographical reference, I considered they should look Middle Eastern.

The illustrations were done for the story of “Mary Talks to baby Jesus” published on the December issue of The Little Lutheran/The Little Christian magazine. Some process pictures below and at the end the final art that you can click on for larger views.

Now, let’s see if you can find my favorite animal on these pieces: the goat. Have you seen where it fell asleep? :)

Resolutions, dissolutions and evolutions post will follow in a few days. Until then!

Detail of Mary's Face

Detail of Mary’s face – Work in Process

Detail of Mary and Baby Jesus - Work in Process

Detail of Mary and Baby Jesus – Work in Process

The two spreads - Work in Process

The two spreads – Work in Process

Cow and Sheep - Detail

Cow and Sheep – Detail

Animals - Detail

Animals – Detail

Mary Talks

Mary Talks – Final Illustration

Holy Family - Final Illustration

Holy Family – Final Illustration

You can find out more about The Little Lutheran/The Little Christian magazine here, and subscribe to them by clicking on the button below.

Subscribe to The Little Lutheran

Children's book author and illustrator, mami of three, wife, sun aficionado, amateur singer and Margarita lover born in Lima, Peru and living in sunny AZ.


  • January 5, 2012

    Gorgeous Juana!

  • January 5, 2012

    Laurie L Young

    Beautiful work!

  • January 6, 2012

    Hi Juana,

    You did just lovely work on this! I can see why it was a fun project to do. It really shows in your art. Your colors are so rich in your painting. Just beautiful!

  • January 6, 2012

    Your art director sounds great. I enjoyed seeing your illustration develop. Really nice work – as usual. (I found the goat!) Thanks for sharing!

  • January 6, 2012

    Your work always makes me feel warm and cozy. I think it is the deep rich colors you use. Very sweet, and very gorgeous.

  • January 6, 2012

    OH, to see the detail pictures are amazing, Juana! I love, love, love the animals and your middle-eastern Mary, Joseph and Jesus are beautifully illustrated. Aha! I found the sweet goat too..perfect! Your client sounds like a great gift – and I’m sure they feel the same about you. : )

  • January 7, 2012

    Your work is so lovely, Juana! I love that you created such a warm feeling within the cool of the night. So loving and peaceful! Thank you for the kind words you left at my blog, and I just adore the art you made for Tomie (and so do my kids!). All my best to you for a fab 2012! :)

  • January 8, 2012

    Awesome artwork! Just wondering how do present your artwork on your site ie. via photo? What’s the trick to getting it to look so crisp and true to life?

  • January 9, 2012

    Beautiful, Juana! Sounds like it was a fun project – gotta love those art directors that let you go crazy!

  • January 10, 2012

    I’m so pleased that your Holy Family looks like a real family from the Middle East. Love shines from every panel of your paintings.

    Oh, how I wish that I had a picture book story ready for you to illustrate!! Someday, someday…

    (found you through MotherReader & Lee Wind’s Comment Challenge)

  • January 16, 2012

    Juana, your illustrations portray the story and culture so well. I love the rich colors and details you’ve used…very impressive. I’m a fan now.

  • September 23, 2013


    Hi juana~ Lovely, lovely work. Thank you. I don’t know if you’ll even see this – almost 20 months past due. But, I just want you to know how much I appreciated the rich “life” which you brought to my words. What an honor it was to have you illustrate them. Thank you, again. You are a gifted illustrator!

Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

153 Boston Post Rd Ste 2
East Lyme, CT 06333

Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel
858-824-9269 ext. 2
Full Circle Literary