As the winner, he has been commissioned to do another illustration for one of their short stories which won in this edition and his illustrations will be published in their anthology titled “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 37.” Following this, there will be a follow-up competition for all the winners from last year who will go up against each other to see who will be the final winner in the category of illustration and writing.

About the winning artist

André Mata was born in 1985 in Lisbon, Portugal. He was fascinated by art during his childhood where he learnt he had the natural ability to draw characters from Disney films. He pursued art through school as he had a strong interest in drawing and painting and went on to do an Illustration course at University, and what sparked his interest most, was telling stories. We spoke about his time at University and he told me that he felt he has largely learnt on his own, through experimentation, but also told me how competitive working in illustration is: “It is a fascinating field and any kind of work that is done in the industry is so good so it requires me to do the best that i can, to get to that level, as the competition is very high, so you really have to do the best you can do and put it out there.” He told me that i have to have a high level of drawing and painting to break into the industry “and that nothing comes easy for me; i have to work and study as much as I can just to improve a little bit at a time as it is such a broad field and I put a lot of effort and discipline into it.”

His thoughts on his win

The Illustrators of the Future contest was his first international competition and he submitted three paintings in August, of last year. André has previously won the “Portuguese Contemporary Illustration competition”. He had also tried to enter the contest before where he gained an honourable mention but did not win at the time and so he tried to enter the contest again in the following edition and he found out he had won in October. I asked him how he felt finding out he had won and he told me that “It was great but I did not expect it because I went from honourable mention to a winner, which was a huge jump within the short space of a month and at first I had no reaction as it had not sunk in yet that I had actually won but later I was very happy as he had now accomplished his main goal. The best news and the best progress I could ever hope for.”

My favourite piece that he sent to the competition is entitled “Monkey Business”, and he shared with me what inspired him: “This is a personal illustration regarding a race of Ape like aliens from outer space, who decided to invade Earth in search of a better quality of bananas. However, along the way, they find an old portable gaming console and several games from the late 80’s, eventually get distracted and forget why they came to Earth in the first place. Two of them are marvelled by this little machine, one feels left out, another is intrigued by the sounds and lights coming from this rectangular object, and the big one is bummed because he didn’t get to see any action! Now, can you guess what they’re playing?”

Where his inspiration came from

Although this competition is on the subject of science fiction and fantasy, which is of great interest to André, he also “has an interest in landscape, portraits and still life and loves painting” as a medium”. He tries to invest in different kinds of subjects and painting animals as he feels that “illustration is a very broad field and painting a bit of everything can help to tell a story.” His art instils realism with imagination and he went into illustration because of his “love for reading and imagining the scenes and the characters and wanting to tell that story visually. “He realised that some of the books he was picking up was purely “because of their front covers”. Influenced by classic literature, the Golden Age of Illustration, and imaginative realism, he is influenced by people who have always done book covers that really inspire him, just to name a few; James Gurney, Michael Whelan and Frank Frazetta. Finally, André also does commissions so if you are interested in his work, please contact him through his email or through Instagram

The Illustrations of the Future Contest

Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth, written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writers of the Future Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was inaugurated five years later. The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The 370 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 6,000 illustrations, 360 comic books, graced 624 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 68 TV shows, and 40 major movies. The 440 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories. They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 60 million copies.

The Illustrators of the Future Contest judges are people that André really admires which included, Bob Eggleton, Larry Elmore, Echo Chernik, Rob Prior and Ciruelo. “It has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of contemporary fiction. Since its inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 36 anthology volumes and awarded over 1,000,000 dollars cumulatively in prize moneys and royalties.

For more information about the competitions, please check out


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes