Artist Ben Mantle illustrating for children’s books
It’s been a little over a year now since we welcomed a lil’ guy into our family. So, naturally we refocused our decorating ideas and behavioral pattern to suit the little dinosaur. Among the things that I was very excited to explore and share with him were children’s books.
I grew up in a former communist country, so creativity was never a strong suit, especially in terms of children related items. We all had the same toys and pretty much the same bland story books. I’m referring to the illustration part, of course.
But oh, how things have changed! Beyond Usborne books illustrators, there are so many other children books authors that envisage the most wonderful of worlds. Bub and I are equally fascinated by the colors, the shapes and faces of classic fairytales that give new meaning to bed time reading.
Artist Ben Mantle is one of my current heroes, who creates dragons, dinosaurs, sharks and many monsters that are absolutely adorable. His prints of „The Jungle Book” and” The wind in the willows” are a childhood dream come true. Their perspective is the ideal image of what each of these books represented to me. It’s that little mind frame that hovered over your head, while reading the book.
I always thought that having the responsibility to train, shape and develop children’s imagination is overwhelming. Yet, he is one of the people that does it well and enjoys every minute of it. It’s the gift of being able to maintain a strong grip of your childhood vision while adding complex, adult meanings to innocent drawings.
As I said earlier, he’s not just an illustrator but also an author of children’s books. The basis of his animation experience was built working on Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride”, after which he also focused on Character and Background design. He illustrated ‘Callum’s Incredible Construction Kit’ which won the Bishop’s Stortford Picture Book prize 2013.
I personally love the illustrations that imagine surreal creatures or scary monsters with the most disarming smiles.