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Friday 22 June 2018

Solent alumnus and associate lecturer, Nate Kitch, has had his illustrations published in a mental health self-help booklet on overcoming overthinking. Swirl was written by Andy Walton, a mental health nurse, who contacted Nate after spotting his work in the Guardian.

Nate says: “Swirl explores practised and positive ways of managing worry and rumination: accessible, straightforward yet comforting and as empowering as possible.

“Designed to attract those who shun unnecessarily long self-help guides and striking enough to be a coffee-table book, it’s something you can grab at three in the morning when your mind is swirling with thoughts, or flick through during your commute to help set up a positive mind-set.

“In terms of inspiration for my illustrations, I’ve always been drawn to abstract ideas, like representing thoughts, emotions and psychology in images. When you’re working with subjective concepts you have to go with emotion as opposed to literal responses.

swirl-cover

“I really wanted the images to make sense and be inviting while still tackling mental health issues. I was tired of the constant dark moody labelling of mental health that I feel can push people away. Yes, its effects can be destructive and incredibly painful, but there is also a spectrum of other emotions that can be involved, and I wanted to represent that with Swirl.”

Nate graduated from Solent’s BA (Hons) Illustration course in 2012, and now works here as an associate lecturer in the subject. He also has a regular slot with the Guardian, illustrating the comment section one day a fortnight.

He advises students: “Be passionate about what you create and if you don’t feel that way, try to work out what’s holding you back; is it as simple as the tool you’re using or is it your frame of mind? Do you need new inspirations, a fresh perspective?

“Ultimately the best advice would be to keep on going and always take risks; you’ll discover more outside your comfort zone.”

Find out more about Swirl