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The Latest Kate Interview
Kate Allan is an artist based in Washington State. She writes and draws about painful things but aims to make it easier with bright colors and sparkles. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post,The Mighty, Wear Your Voice Mag and more. Check out her art on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Describe yourself in three words
Tenacious, Inquisitive, Affable
When did you start drawing? What inspired you to pair comforting quotes with animals?
I have enjoyed drawing cute, colorful animals since I was a little kid.My inspiration to pair animals with kind captions came from Positive Doodles, another mental health blog. I saw Emm Roy's art and wanted to create similar, yet personalized illustrations for myself.
Your art is encouraging and highlights the challenges of living with mental illness. What inspired you to talk about mental health?
In the very beginning of my blog, I was severely depressed and wanted to document what I was experiencing. It was a way to exercise mindfulness; I could remove myself from the situation by distilling it into comic form. From there I found challenging my negative self talk was an effective way to battle depression, and my art became more positivity-focused.I've always been candid about my experiences with mental illness, so merging that with my artwork was a natural process.
You share lots of positive mantras in your work. Is there one you gravitate towards when life is challenging?
I have a sticky note on my monitor that says “Just do what you have to to survive today.”Not every day needs to be about meeting goals; some days should be about recharging. Like, it's okay to just exist and bring it back to the basics.
What are some of your favourite self-nurturing habits? Why are they so important to you?
One of the most helpful self care lessons I’ve learned is from a YouTube vlogger Tessa Violet, and it's a self-check in three parts:Have you gotten enough sleep?Have you eaten well?Have you connected with another human being recently?Usually if these things are taken care of, it's going to be an okay day. If not, then it's understandable I might have a “bad brain” day (lots of negative self-talk, anxiety about usual tasks), and I need to be more careful with myself.
Has sharing your art changed you at all?
Definitely! I’ve met a whole community of people who experience similar difficulties, and it's been very validating. One of the most challenging aspects of depression is feeling alien and alone, and when I meet someone going through that it's natural to respond, “I don't think you're crazy, I don't think you're broken.” Logic then follows that I'm not broken either. I mean, not that that is an easy idea to accept at the time, but it's a step in a healthier direction.
You have a very beautiful illustration style. Can you share with us the top three artists that influenced your work?
Thank you! I’ve been most inspired by Lisa Frank, Ilon Wickland, and Andreas Deja.
Photos from @thelatestkate's Instagram