The man behind the monsters, Toby Allen, is an illustrator, game artist and concept artist from Cornwall. Though his Real Monsters series has been doing the rounds online and getting a lot of attention, I took a look into his portfolio and found some fantasy gems that deserve sharing too.
This is by no means an exhaustive list - take a look at his work; there is a ton of fantastic art to be found.
I managed to catch up with Toby for a quick Q&A:
Toby Allen: The project originated from dealing with my own anxieties. I found that drawing my worries and fears as cute little monsters would help me thing about them differently and make my anxiety feel more manageable. I received a great response from this idea so I decided to develop the concept into a much larger project that tackled a variety of mental illnesses or conditions that people close to me dealt with on a daily basis.
As I am a visual artist, the appearance of the monsters comes first however the concept/story behind each one appears early in the designing process. I will try to reflect many different aspects of the mental illness in the drawing itself and further enhance the concept in the descriptions. I use specific colours or forms in the designs to help build an idea of how the monster might behave and also reflect certain moods or emotions associated with the mental illness it represents.
MW: Can you give us any updates/insights/teasing tidbits about your webcomic idea with Klaus?
TA: I'm keeping most of the details about my webcomic idea a secret for now, however I can share one or two things. The comic will follow the adventures of 4 characters who live in a typical J-RPG style videogame world. It is a world of cliche, cameos and numbers randomly poping up in the air. The characters are used to invisible walls to stop them going somewhere they shouldn't go yet and of course dying in battle isn't really much of an issue with the help of a Revive.
The webcomic will follow them as they encounter familiar videogame scenarios, but as a game breaking glitch appears in the world they will have to learn to exploit various game conventions to save everything they know. It will be somewhat satirical but will pay homage to my love for videogames and the fantasy genre in general.
MW: Anything you're working on right now that you'd like to give a shoutout to?
TA: At the moment I am working as a 2D game artist for HealthPack Games, creating the artwork for some mobile games that will be released soon. Aside from that, I am continuing to work on my Real Monsters project and work on a children's book idea called 'The Mushroom Fairies'.
*all artwork is owned by Toby Allen and is used here with permission by the creator.