The Heroine’s Journey of Chiara Mantello

What is the best thing that I love about my work?  I’m an illustrator and what I like about my job is to be able to do something that I like all day, to talk about what I like and to watch what I like (pictures, drawings, comics etc.) and always say that I’m working.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? What makes me really happy is the sharing of passions, the comparison with others.

What is my greatest fear? The things that I’m afraid of are snakes and small and closed space. But soon after, I’m afraid of losing my time working badly, of not being up, of going in the wrong direction. It encourages me to know that the fear of being mistaken is more common than claustrophobia.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Anxiety. I am a very anxious person and this makes me even more anxious.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? I recently got to know Philip Giordano. I already knew his good work but now I can admire him as a person because, while being an affirmed professional, he is available, gentle and very humble. These are qualities that only great people have.

What is my greatest extravagance? I watch a lot of cartoons – even those for very small children. Is something that fascinates me a lot.

On what occasion would I lie? Lying is difficult for me. I almost never lie because I’m not capable of it.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? That it’s a lonely job. That’s why I have always tried to surround myself with people with my own passion so we can work alone but go for a drink together.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Sometimes you happen to make a particularly successful drawing, look at it, and understand that it’s better than anything you’ve produced before and somehow made you do a tiny, but crucial step forward. I think that those moments are the reason why people choose to draw for work.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I’d like to be one of those people who can get up early in the morning and start working with a smile on their lips. Like in cookies’ spots.

What is my greatest achievement in work? For me, success means to be satisfied with oneself, so since I have not stopped trying to improve, I did not succeed yet.

Where would I most like to live? It’s a hard question. I would like to move somewhat outside of Italy (I’m currently living in Milan). But I also feel a deep bond with Vicenza, which is my hometown.

What is my most treasured possession? The greatest treasure in my possession are the people around me – they push me to never give up.

What is my most marked characteristic? Irony, and self-irony above all.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? There are three ways I look for inspiration: talking to people, so the place becomes secondary. Walking – then without a precise place. And working, so the only fixed place I can point to is my desk. Although I currently own two of them, one in Vicenza and one in Milan …

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Everywhere there is beer and good company. So even my home is fine.

What books influenced my life and how? The book that changed my life is “The Witches” by Roald Dahl – or any of his books. When I was a child I read them all and fell in love twice. First, the stories hit me and then the illustrations of the great Quentin Blake moved me. At the age of (maybe) seven I was convinced that in my life I wanted to do his own job. I have not changed my idea yet.

Who are my favorite writers? After Dahl I met others. I nominate three of them. Calvino of whom I have read almost everything and that I loved for his irony. Paola Capriolo for how she can describe the darkness and the impossibility of struggling against oneself. Terry Pratchett because his books would make even the stones laugh.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? This question is too hard! I can hardly imagine…when I go out for a run I always listen to System of a Down, so I think that even in that day I will listen to them.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Hermione Granger and Princess Leila. I am very fascinated by strong women.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?  My mother is my strong woman model.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Bambi (although it is a small trauma).

What role plays art in my life and work? I consider myself as an artisan and not as an artist. I think that “art” is a word overused.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? The girls of my collective: the “Collettivo Baldobranco”. We produce self-productions and illustrations together, but we also share a good part of our daily problems and lives. Working with them makes me always happy and proud.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?  With Collettivo Baldobranco obviously.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017? I’d like to meet Benjamin Chaud to tell him I love everything he does.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? At the moment I am working on a coloring book for children and I look forward to seeing it complete.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? In libraries, I hope, at the fairs of self-production, on the Baldobranco site and online.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Sometimes I do not understand if I draw more for passion or stubbornness. I try to do everything in the most spontaneous, honest and funny way possible.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? My friend Veronica Ruffato. She is the best illustrator I know but she still does not have the fame she deserves. He could take the opportunity to get her an interview before she becomes super famous!

How can you contact me? I am available at my email:

You can follow my work on my instagram page:

Or see my portfolio on behance:

And you can check the Baldobranco page here:

What follows is a message of Peter de Kuster,  the founder of the Heroine’s Journey

What is Your Story?

Two Day Tour with Peter de Kuster  in the greatest bookstores of your favorite city. In Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Berlin, London and Amsterdam we offer this unique What is your Story? experience.  To (re) write your story about yourself and your work. In the process transforming your capacity to successfully have the creative life and work you love. 

In this journey, Peter de Kuster,  founder of The Heroine’s Journey explores with you the way we tell stories about ourselves to ourselves — and, most important, the way we can change those stories to transform our creative business and life.

“Your story is your art, your art is your story,” says Peter. As human beings, we continually tell ourselves stories — of success or failure; of power or victimhood; stories that endure for an hour, or a day, or an entire lifetime. We have stories about our creative challenges, our art, our clients, our money, our self promotion, our time, our families and relationships, our health; about what we want and what we’re capable of achieving. Yet, while our stories profoundly affect how others see us and we see ourselves, too few of us even recognize that we’re telling stories, or what they are, or that we can change them — and, in turn, transform our very destinies.

Telling ourselves stories provides structure and direction as we navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and helps us interpret our goals and skills. Stories make sense of chaos; they organize our many divergent experiences into a coherent thread; they shape our entire reality. And far too many of our stories, says Peter, are dysfunctional, in need of serious editing. First, he asks you to answer the question, “In which areas of my creative life and business is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I’ve got?” He then shows you how to create new, reality-based stories that inspire you to action, and take you where you want to go both in your work and personal life.

Our capacity to tell stories is one of our profoundest gifts. Peter’s approach to creating deeply engaging stories will give you the tools to wield the power of storytelling and forever change your creative business and life.

Become a great Storyteller

That’s why I set up What is your Story? service in the great cities of the world and their great bookstores. A new way to use the power of your story.  To guide you to life-changing, eye-opening but often elusive works of literature, both past and present, the books of fiction that truly have the power to enchant, enrich and inspire.

In two days with Peter de Kuster you’ll explore your relationship with books so far and your unique story identity will be sketched. You will be guided to books that can put their finger on what you want to rewrite in your story, the feelings that you may often have had but perhaps never understood so clearly before; books that open new perspectives and re-enchant the world for you.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of your session and you’ll be given an instant story advice and books to read to take away. Your full story advice and books to read list will follow within a couple of days.


What Can I Expect?

Here’s an outline of the WHAT IS YOUR STORY? journey.

Journey Outline


  • What is your Story?
  • Are you even trying to tell a Story?
  • Old Stories  (stories about you, your art, your clients, your money, your self promotion, your happiness, your health)
  • Tell your current Story
  • Is this Really Your Story?


  • The Premise of your Story. The Purpose of your Life and Art
  • The words on your tombstone
  • You ultimate mission, out loud
  • The Seven Great Plots
  • The Twelve Archetypal Heroines
  • The One Great Story
  • Purpose is Never Forgettable
  • Questioning the Premise
  • Lining up
  • Flawed Alignment, Tragic Ending
  • The Three Rules in Storytelling
  • Write Your New Story


  • Turning your story into action
  • The Story Effect
  • Story Ritualizing
  • The Storyteller and the art of story
  • The Power of Your Story
  • Storyboarding your creative process
  • They Created and Lived Happily Ever After


The “What is your Story?” fee is Euro 2.495 excluding VAT for a private tour with a small group of 1 or 2 people.

Questions? Contact Peter de Kuster at 0031 6 33661772 or mail him at

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