illustrated by RJ Watson
In this follow-up to his bestselling children's book, The Lord's Prayer, illustrator Richard Jesse Watson brings to life the beloved Psalm 23.
Watson's use of vibrant color and detailed imagery beautifully captures the essence of the comforting words of David, bringing Psalm 23 alive for readers young and old.
Early in my career I had the privilege of working in the design department at World Vision International. When I began work on Psalm 23, I was given permission to access their photo library for inspiration for my illustrations.
Richard's reflections on Psalm 23:
God is so much more than we can fathom. And yet, He reveals Himself to us little by little as we are able to receive it.
I think it is so cool, and so unlike the human bent toward power-grasping, that Jesus said, "Unless you become as a little child, you cannot even see the Kingdom of God." Wow.
PSALM 23 speaks to a child so clearly; You are like a little lamb, and God, The Good Shepherd, will take care of you. But it also speaks comfort to the been-around-the-block adult as well.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me..."
Throughout my life I have found comfort in this elegant, relevant Psalm. When our kids were young, we used to read PSALM 23 to them and draw pictures together to illustrate the imagery of the psalm.
Here's a painting I did with my son, Jesse, when he was a boy. He's dreaming of being a brave shepherd tending his sheep like the psalm's author, David.
I gave Jesse permanent marker pens and let him finish the painting. I left the room to keep from art directing. When I returned he had drawn David with his sling and lots of swords and arrows, battling the giant, Goliath. He also added a Boy Scout tent to suggest to me that we go camping.
When I was illustrating this new version of PSALM 23, I asked Jesse again to pose as a shepherd (painting at the top of page).
Jesse now has "little lambs" of his own, and is also a children's book author and illustrator. His book, HOPE FOR HAITI, is an example of his tender heart.
It is clear to me that goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life. No kidding.
Son, Jesse, with children in Haiti
Jesse's book with Penguin Publishing
The outstanding calligrapher, Connie Smiley, hand-lettered the title and display type for Psalm 23 and many of my other books.