It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in several countries, so it seemed like the right time to share this series of illustrations by Toby Allen, titled “Real Monsters”:
Although it could be misconstrued as literally demonizing people with mental illness, the externalization of the various disorders as evil creatures who prey on the mind (or soul) is as old as civilization. The characterization of depression as an ominous black dog goes back to Samuel Johnson, and was hauntingly referenced by Nick Drake almost 40 years ago (just before his death):
Toby Allen told Global News that he hopes to draw attention to mental illnesses that often get ignored or aren’t taken seriously.
“I found that drawing my worries and fears as little monsters would help me think about them differently and make my anxiety feel more manageable,” said Allen in an email to Global. “I began to work with these ideas and draw monsters that represented my worries and fears.”