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The Start of Softus Hugs

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The Idea 
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Mental health issues are a serious issue that is still seen as taboo to talk about. When it comes to someone dealing with these issues they can feel alone and scared because of all the negative talks about it.

Sure there are some positive capaigns,website, social media accs, etc, that bring awareness to the issue but there are still people who may struggle with asking for help because despite all the positive campaigns it still doesn’t help to remove all the negative talks about it.

So because of this I wanted to create a product that could bring awareness to mental health in a subtle way that wasn’t very in the face of the audience and was a product that could act as a form of comfort to anyone suffering with mental illnesses and is in need of comfort because they are afraid or worried about asking for help or searching for comfort.

The Concept

Before coming up with an idea I looked at what other artists have done about mental health, about self love, etc and from there I decided to research on what usually helps people when they struggle with mental health issues and one of the things that help is finding something as a form of comfort, it could be a object that holds meaning or is something that helps that remain calm, helps them cope, etc

I also wanted to create something that felt like it could give someone a hug.


A way to give them comfort when they need it. Be it physical hug or mental hug so to create this I thought about a plushie. This way something someone could physically hug when in need of comfort and I could create it as a way to give the person in need of comfort a hug.

The concept then came to character design as I didn’t want the plush to be like any normal teddy bear or stuffed animal so after a few weeks of thinking and sketching I came up with a cactus becuase its normal for no one to give hugs to a cactus and this could be a representation of someone who was in need of help where they feel afraid to ask for help or open up to people about their issues be- cause sometimes people may not give them the hug they need, Thinking they might be too “prickly” to hug. Like a cactus.



Research and References

Before starting on anything I had to do lots of research to make sure that I was targeting the right angle and right target audience. Subjects like mental health are sensitive and need to be approached in the right way to convey the right message and ensure that the awareness and story came across the audiences in the right way. So I started by looking at multiple articles that spoke about the different types of mental health issues such as OCD, depression, DID, etc. After that I also looked at several artists that have done works based on mental health to learn about the different approaches that were taken so that I could understand how to create my idea better and to also see if I could approach it in a different way.

Some of the artists I have found inspirations with that have managed to convey the messages of mental health well are artists like Shawn Coss who too the idea of fears and mental health and turned them into illustrations during Inktober, he never exaggerated it too much, he would create these illustrations as accurately as possible according to multiple researches he had done and does his best to be realistic as possible so that it helped to bring awareness to the subject and still be entertaining to his audiences.

Another artist that inspired Softus Hugs was Ketch Wehr who created a print for Callen Lorde community Health Center during the month of awareness month as the health centre aims to bring attention to the subject and still make it relatable and allow those struggling with mental health feel comfortable with coming out about mental health.

A third artist is Monica Tata who created illustrations that were based on her experiences while she was dealing with mental health issues, she created them as a form of communication which will in hopes allow people to feel comfortable about talking about mental health and become aware and show how mental health can affect anyone and everyone no matter what.

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Early designs
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Check out the previous blog

Importance of mental health

One of the articles that stood out to me when creating Softus Hugs

Final Design and process

For the final design I settled on the idea of a cactus as I explained in the concept section. When I started the process of making it, I started with a mock up version that was half the size of the final design to get the feel of the shape and look to make sure that the design looked right and would work. However when I made the mock up I made the design too round therefore the plush was slightly harder to hug because of how spherical it was. So for the final design I created the plush to be less spherical but still friendly and cute looking. For the blanket which I wanted to add with the plush I decided to get 2 meter long fluffy fabric for the blanket and hem it before storing it within the pot of the plush.

You can do it!

Check out the next blog blog

Softus Wallpapers

Free downloadable wallpapers

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