Toby Allen's illustrations show us what mental illnesses look like

UK Illustrator Toby Allen uses her talents to give the unseen monsters of mental illness a face.

Mental illnesses imagined as real monsters that prey on their victims’ insecurities is one UK illustrator’s way of making sense of debilitating conditions that so few people understand. Toby Allen’s illustrated series “Real Monsters” gives tangible qualities to diseases like depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

In her blog, Allen explains that her intention was to give intangible mental illnesses some substance, raise awareness and make them appear more manageable as physical entities.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Allen said she drew inspiration from her own anxieties. She found that imagining her anxieties as monsters stripped them of some of their power. She also found the process of drawing them to be a cathartic release. Allen’s series aims to help sufferers in the same way that creating the series has helped heal her.