The best advice aspiring author-illustrator Matthew Rivera received during the mentorship he won from SCBWI-L.A. was to wear a short tie. That’s because he’s working on a story about a dapper, yet fussy giraffe who finds a tie he really likes, but it’s too short for his long neck. Mentor Deborah Nourse Lattimore suggested that Matthew wear a short tie and, as he went about his day, ask himself questions: “How do I feel when I see myself in the mirror? Do I feel self-conscious in public? How do people look at me?” The exercise proved tremendously helpful for putting Matthew into the mind of his main character in order to better illustrate personality.