An Illustrator’s Passion Project


As an illustrator, sometimes you don’t choose a project, it chooses you.

As an illustrator, sometimes you don’t choose a project, it chooses you. Illustrator Zachary Pullen has illustrated over fifteen different books, including “Friday My Radio Flyer Flew” and “S is for Story,” but his passion project has always been the book “Life and Spectrum.”


A couple years ago, Pullen got an email from someone who wanted him to draw the cover for a book he had written. Although it’s not uncommon for illustrators to get emails like this, something about this particular email was different. Pullen explained, “This email was just one line that said, ‘I want you to illustrate the cover of my book- (signed) Cliffy.’” Figuring there was no harm in finding out more, Pullen invited Cliffy to come to his gallery to meet him.


It turns out that Cliffy was really 50-year-old Cliff Meloy. Meloy had been autistic his whole life, but had just recently been diagnosed. He had written the text for a book about what it’s like living with autism and wanted Pullen to illustrate it. Pullen was immediately drawn to the project and every Thursday at 10:00am sharp for a year and three months, Pullen worked with Meloy to visually bring the book to life.


Since then, the book has become a treasured resource inside and even outside the autism community because of the perspective and insight it offers. Pullen said that what makes “Life and Spectrum” different from other books about autism is that, “it’s not clinical or scientific, it’s written entirely from Cliff’s perspective which is a really cool thing. A lot of people are gravitating to the book because it’s so upfront and honest.”


As Pullen continues his career as an illustrator of many successful books, he continues to be proud to have been a part of “Life and Spectrum. ”