In the world of Kate Allan sparkle neon owls wisely inform you that “anxiety lies” and rainbow-spotted dinosaurs remind you to treat yourself with kindness.
Allan is a mental health author and illustrator from Washington State, and the artist behind the popular Instagram account thelatestkate. She’s also the writer of You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression and later this month, she’s releasing a (very cute) prompt journal.
While she’s always loved cute, colorful imagery — think Lisa Frank and Sailor Moon — her approach to art comes from an understanding that it’s sometimes easier to process real advice from a gentle, and maybe cotton-candy colored, messenger. The advice itself comes from a place of understanding: Allan has Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and the statements she weaves into her pieces come from an effort to fight negative self-talk.
The following is an interview with Allan about mental arguments, the creative process, and how to not let anxiety take hold.
What motivated you to create the “thelatestkate” account?
Honestly, it started when I went through a breakdown. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and there was a point in my early twenties when I really wasn’t functioning.
I had the privilege of seeing a therapist, and she let me know that I really had to crack down on my negative thoughts and argue against them as often as possible. And when that became my “job,” I thought, why not pair this with my hobby of drawing? Why not showcase this work that I’m doing for others who are also struggling?
What are you up to you when you’re not creating art?
I like video games and hiking. I also started karate recently, which is really challenging. For every kata, each arm and leg all do a different thing, and it’s so difficult for my mind! But like, a good difficult.