OBLIGATORY THIRD-PERSON BIO
Rivkah LaFille (pronounced “lah-fee”) is a children’s illustrator, writer, designer and graphic novelist living in Austin, TX. Her graphic novel series, STEADY BEAT, was nominated by the American Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. She was nominated as a Lulu of the Year by Friends of Lulu for her work in promoting women in comics, and she won the Austin SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Award, presided over by Caldecott winner and New York Times bestselling author, Dan Santat! Currently, she is working on a graphic novel series with FIRST SECOND and making MAGIC.
Clients have included:
MACMILLAN – ROARING BOOK PRESS – FIRST SECOND – TOKYOPOP – HARPERCOLLINS – ST MARTIN’S PRESS – VERTIGO/DC COMICS – CRICKET MEDIA GROUP – SPIDER MAGAZINE – LADYBUG MAGAZINE – APPLIED MATERIALS – THE AUSTIN SCBWI – THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE – KICK BUTT COFFEE
and various fashion, tech, and design companies.
NOW LET’S GET PERSONAL
I didn’t know I’d grow up to be an artist until I’d already grown up. One morning in my early twenties, a little voice said to me, “I’m gonna draw comics for the rest of my life.” It was a eureka moment. I’d never even roughed a page before. I was running a small company publishing literary adult fiction. What did I have to do with comics and graphic novels? Yet, less than three months later, I’d won an award for a short comic story about abortion (decidedly PRO-choice), had a running webcomic on the then-popular site, WIREPOP, and was working on the contract for my first graphic novel offer from TOKYOPOP, called STEADY BEAT.
WHAT. A. RIDE.
Yet, even when we discover our destiny, that doesn’t mean it will be easy!
With the housing crash of 2008, came a nosedive for the nascent industry of children’s graphic novels. Most creatives have to juggle a day job along with their creative work. I was no exception. I worked in publishing, design, and PR for years, all while quietly working on my OWN project, something just for me: a midgrade graphic novel series named JANE’S S.O.S. I taught. I designed. I fixed an awful lot of printers. And every single day, without fail, I dug out time to put my pencil on the paper and worked on my comics craft.
Fast forward to 2014. Tragedy struck. My best friend and mentor passed away, and I needed to reassess my life goals. Where was I going? Where did I want to be? Just as I had packed up my bags and moved to NYC seven years previously, I did the same but in reverse: moved back to Austin, TX and started over, all over again. I switched my focus to children’s illustration and writing. I rebuilt my portfolio from the ground up to focus on picture books instead of graphic novels and comics.
And yet … sometimes when it feels like destiny has abandoned us, we realize in hindsight, that it was only taking a breather.
In 2019, I signed a contract with First Second on a new graphic novel series. What it is, I can’t say yet! But it’s made me realize that comics is where my heart lies and always will. It can be, at times, an uncomfortable passion, but this is the format where my voice rings loudest and truest. It is where I belong. It is where I will always be.
West Texas. A beautiful, desolate place.