A mental-health bent

Obviously any illustrator would be happy to take a commission for something within their ability range, but equally, it’s nice to feel you have a bent towards something in particular, some area you have an understanding and feel for.

I think with me, it’s the children/young people and the mental health arenas. I’m a trained counsellor and child therapist and was once a teacher and youth leader. I guess, then, that the interest predated the choices of those occupations to some extent. And I find now I’m usually drawing young people or mental health issues. (The young people/child focus obviously includes all my mad fantastic images too!)

This week I’ve been preparing images that have to do with the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Week – which this year is focusing on stress. They add to the many I’ve done before, but I thought I’d show you these here.

I did them out of order, but message-wise this is the first:

stress destroys
Hand-drawn and digitally rendered

It’s deliberately distorted because that’s what stress does to you. Some stress is good, but high cortisol levels caused by unnecessary stress destroy our bodies slowly but surely.

So what to do (I thought to myself)? I came up with a lady not only squashing her red stress ball but flattening it into a tamed heap – in calm blue!! Quirky, but I like it.

stressed Tame square
Hand-drawn and digitally rendered

And then I hit the problem. I wanted to keep a consistent colour scheme, but if the major stress is dealt with, where does the red go? I decided that since some stress is vital to keep us alert and on our toes, I would keep some red in the image and integrate it. I could say, ‘a neat solution’ – but that’s for you to judge, not me!

Stressed hold on
Hand-drawn and digitally rendered

I probably need to get the top down look a bit more on this one, to match the others. That would mean using 3-point perspective on the hand, which helps to explain the foreshortened strings. But that’s not your problem! I’ll do it later. I’ve still got 14 days before I want to tweet them in mental health week.

But I’d love to know what you think – and if you know anyone art directors commissioning for mental health topics, do please introduce me 🙂

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