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Illustrator With Autism Draws How She Sees the World

Izzy Joy, 28, is a graphic artist with autism, and she recently self-published the book “Strange Things,” a collection of digital illustrations she hopes will show others what her life on the spectrum is like.

Joy is based in Wellington, New Zealand, and last year she graduated with a degree in graphic design from Massey University. Joy chatted with the local news outlet Wairarapa Times-Age about her book, which she describes as a “visual diary” of her observations and her fascination with the natural world.

“I wanted to give some idea of what it’s like living with autism,” Joy said. “It’s why I have a lot of detail in my drawings — it’s an almost obsessive compulsive thing, and something I find really meditative.”

sea treasures Posted by Izzy Joy on Monday, September 28, 2015
some lines Posted by Izzy Joy on Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Joy cites her major influences as botanical illustrator Sydney Parkinson, Beatrix Potter and her father, who is a scientist. She told the Wairarapa Times-Age that she turned to art after struggling to express herself, and many of her experiences are reflected in “Strange Things,” like her attention to detail and fascination with certain subjects. Many of Joy’s illustrations are black and white and focus on human anatomy, crustacean shells, hands and fungi.

“Temple Grandin once said to focus on your portfolio and let it speak for you, so you don’t have to focus on trying to fit in,” she added. “This book speaks for me.”

shiny new book Posted by Izzy Joy on Monday, October 26, 2015
  For more of Joy’s drawings, visit her website and Facebook page.