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Featured Illustrator

Welcome! Oregon SCBWI is proud to feature one Illustrator member each month. Below you’ll find information about this month's artist and links to their portfolio. We encourage you to take a few minutes to learn about this Oregon Illustrator and to enjoy their artwork. If you would like to be featured, contact Robin at: oregon-ic@scbwi.org

Matthew Rivera

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Matthew Rivera

Hello, friends! I’m originally from Tucson where I graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts. My career in KidLit started a little later in life, after working for two decades as a graphic designer for corporations and toy companies in Los Angeles. It was there that I discovered my passion for drawing and illustrating for children, and I decided to make the leap into KidLit. I floundered for a while trying to figure out how to break into publishing until discovering the SCBWI. I joined in 2015 and attended many conferences, local events, and workshops. (continued below)

Matthew's Illustrations

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Matthew's journey in the KidLit World

About Matthew (continued):

I worked diligently on my portfolio, and won a few awards at SCBWI conferences, including a portfolio honor at the 2021 summer conference. Throughout the years my visibility received attention from publishing professionals such as my agent who signed me in 2017. At this point in my KidLit career, I’ve illustrated eight picture books, and released my author/illustrator debut, THE PLANT RESCUER, this May. I draw my inspiration from nature and animals, including forests, deserts, bears, squirrels, dinos, and bunnies. In addition to writing and illustrating for kids, I also work as Senior Exhibit Graphic Designer for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. When I'm not at OMSI, you can find me in my garden, planting more flowers, or at my desk writing, while my pet rabbit tugs at my shoelaces to get my attention.


And a little advice:

When creating artwork for your portfolio, have a narrative for every piece. Make sure it’s written down somewhere you won’t forget. Even if it’s a simple sentence or two. My editor, Neal Porter with Holiday House Books, fell in love with an illustration in my portfolio and reached out to my agent to see if I had a story around it. My agent responded by saying it was a story I had ‘in the works.’ While I had seeds of an idea, it was then that I explored it further and wrote a full manuscript and created a book dummy. This ultimately became THE PLANT RESCUER, which Neal acquired in 2022 in an exclusive submission! I find that being an artist contains a double truth: I need time alone to create but also time with others to share and connect. So my advice is to not only create but to share your work. Find a community (small or big) to engage with, listen and ask questions! Creativity thrives within the garden of community.

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