Illustrated Monsters Bring Mental Illnesses To Life [Pics]

Illustrated Monsters Bring Mental Illnesses To Life [Pics]

An illustrator plagued with anxiety issues portrays psychological conditions as colorful monsters, an enemy that can be defeated.

Daniela Walker
  • 30 september 2013

Artist Toby Allen has long suffered from anxiety. Three years ago, he chose to face these demons by drawing them as monsters in a children’s book called Toby and the Monsters. Now, Allen has taken on other mental disorders and imagined them as colorful creatures in order to make them more understandable and tangible ¬†to both sufferers and non-sufferers alike.

In a disclaimer on his site, Allen writes:

The artwork is not at all intended to make light of these conditions but instead is intended to give these intangible mental illnesses some substance and make them appear more manageable as physical entities.



The illnesses behind the watercolor monsters are meticulously researched by Allen before they begin to take shape. He has drawn Anxiety, Depression and Schizophrenia amongst others. Allen plans to add more to the list and also has a request list for people who want to see their own monsters turned into visible beings. He told Fast Company:

Drawing these characters was a very cathartic process, so I developed the idea into a larger project that covered other mental illnesses in the hopes that other people could relate to the work.

Click on the gallery below to see Allen’s monsters:

Toby Allen


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