A UNIVERSITY student from Kidderminster is taking a novel approach to talking about mental health by illustrating the issues that children face in a new book.

Bethany Pickford, a third-year visual communication degree student at Wolverhampton University, created the illustrated children’s book, 'My Brother’s Monster', in time for Mental Health Awareness week.

Ludlow Advertiser: 'My Brother's Monster' draws on Bethany's personal experiences of mental health'My Brother's Monster' draws on Bethany's personal experiences of mental health

Drawing on personal experience of mental health issues suffered by friends and loved ones, Beth wanted to use her art to help children understand and relate to the complex issues surrounding depression.

Beth, 20, said: “The story focusses on a little girl who tries her best to reach out to her older brother as he suffers with his monster, and tries to free him of it. I wanted to find a way that translated how being with a loved one who’s suffering can make you feel, in a simple but effective way.

Ludlow Advertiser: Bethany Pickford created the illustrated children’s book 'My Brother’s Monster' in time for Mental Health Awareness weekBethany Pickford created the illustrated children’s book 'My Brother’s Monster' in time for Mental Health Awareness week

“I chose to illustrate this as a children’s book because I believe that it’s important for children to be introduced to mental health issues at an early age, as they or the people in their family, can also suffer from them.

"I wanted to try and show how it can feel from both sides, as someone who suffers and as someone who just wants to help, but can’t.

"Most of all I wanted the book to have a positive and heart-warming meaning even though it deals with a dark and sensitive topic.

“Initially I planned to work in watercolours, however after some experiments with coloured pencils I found that they were ideal for capturing the itchy, always moving texture of the monster and illustrating this story.

Ludlow Advertiser: Beth aims to pursue a career in writing and illustrationBeth aims to pursue a career in writing and illustration

"It allowed me to push the colours and keep my style original and true to me. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

Ben Kelly, course leader in illustration at the University of Wolverhampton, said: "Beth has worked incredibly hard on this project over the course of the final semester of her degree programme.

"She has used this period of uncertainty in such a positive way, she is a credit to the course and we know she will go on to have a successful career within the creative industries.”

Beth aims to pursue a career in writing and illustration.

Ludlow Advertiser: Bethany's illustrations were created using coloured pencilsBethany's illustrations were created using coloured pencils

She said “It would be amazing to get My Brother’s Monster published. It has been my first attempt at creating a full book of final artworks, and I am extremely proud of what I was able to achieve.

"This project means a lot to me, as it has lasted throughout the whole of third year and developed leaps and bounds since the concept was thought of last September.

"It would be a dream to hold a physical, printed, and published copy of a book that I both wrote and illustrated. Ultimately I would love to be a freelance illustrator and self-author.”