Illustrator of the Motivating Giraffe, Penny Redshaw. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times
Illustrator of the Motivating Giraffe, Penny Redshaw. Photo Inga Williams / The Queensland Times Inga Williams

Motivating Giraffe a social media favourite

BOOVAL'S Penny Redshaw is quite literally drawing attention to illnesses like depression as Mental Health Week comes to a close.

The university student is the creator and illustrator of Motivating Giraffe, a series of hand-drawn pictures with inspirational quotes.

Ms Redshaw, 22, started sketching her red and yellow cartoon companion to help work through her own depression and now thousands more are also benefiting from her creativity.

Ms Redshaw's hand-drawn pictures quickly gained momentum online after the social science student began posting the drawings on Facebook.

The Motivational Giraffe Facebook page is growing in

popularity every day, and currently boasts more than 4500 likes.

"The more I started getting messages from people telling me the pictures had made their day or helped them through a tough time, the more I wanted to spread the message that it's okay to not be okay," she said.

"It's not okay that in 2015 we are still afraid to ask for help because of the stigma that goes along with it."

The Booval student said she never expected to be an illustrator.

"I've never been good at drawing. I hadn't picked up a pencil since art in Year 9," she said.

"When Motivating Giraffe started gaining popularity someone suggested I make a book so I started a Kickstarter and made $6500."

Ms Redshaw used that funding to publish her first book containing about 100 sketches.

"I'm going to continue to do this for a year after I graduate in December and then see where it goes from there," she said.

"The world we live in is not nice a lot of the time. The internet is also full of things that are not nice. I guess Motivational Giraffe is a way to spread something kindness instead of cruelty, love instead of hatred, encouragement instead of criticism. It's nice to make something good."

Ms Redshaw shared her advice for other people who might be also struggling with mental health issues.

"When I was a teenager I thought it would go away so I didn't tell anyone how I was feeling," she said.

"It won't go away and you have to talk about it.

"Tell a doctor, tell a friend, tell someone."

Visit the Motivating Giraffe Facebook page for more.

If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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