Illustrations to Communicate a Mood
Kids—and really all of us—are drawn to images and pictures. With this book, I wanted something very specific. Actually, before I knew what I wanted, I knew what I didn't want. I didn't want a Disneyfication of the Bible and I didn't want pictures that were trying to look realistic so that kids would be confused about what Jesus really looks like, for example. I didn’t want to give kids a picture in their mind of Jesus. There are dangers and troubles with that.
We wanted colors, wanted some realism, and vibrancy. We wanted something a little different than a deliberate attempt to depict what it really looked like. And Don Clark does all of those things so well. So the illustrations themselves are deliberately giving something of an interpretation.
I wrote the chapters first, so Don could see where the story was going—what the themes and lessons were going to be, and then be able to sort of draw the illustrations around them.
I hope, for example, that the illustrations in the scary stories help it convey the scary nature of the events. Some people have said Oh, some of these are kind of graphic. Well, the Bible is kind of graphic. It's still a children's book, but the Bible has some scary stories. So those illustrations ought to present a kind of mood. And there's an edginess, there are villains, and there's danger—because that's the Bible.
And then other illustrations are going to provoke a sense of calm, peace, rest, and heavenly wonder. The point is not that every illustration causes you to ask what each particular thing means. But the total package is giving a mood to each of those stories to help us understand what that story is about, what it means, and what we might feel as we read and learn what God wants to teach us.
Kevin DeYoung is the author of The Biggest Story Bible Storybook.
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