Richard Jesse Watson is the acclaimed illustrator of numerous award-winning picture books for children, including Tom Thumb, winner of the SCBWI Golden Kite Award. He also illustrated The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake, written by Nancy Willard, which was the Best Picture Book of the Year by People Magazine and was an IRA-CBC Children's Choice. Other awards include Waldenbooks Illustration Award , Best Book Design from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and Best Children's Book from the Printing Industries of America. He was named an Ezra Jack Keats Fellow by the Kerlan Collection of the University of Minnesota.
Richard studied art at Pasadena City College and Art Center College of Design. He has continued his artistic studies drawing from life, and at art museums and cathedrals. He worked as a graphic designer for World Vision International, an illustrator for Hallmark Cards, later becoming a freelance artist.
Richard's paintings are in galleries and on permanent display in corporate offices, conference centers, libraries, children's hospitals, and private collections. His work has also appeared in Society of Illustrators National and Western Exhibitions and Communication Arts Illustration Annuals. Commissioned works include paintings for the Los Angeles Zoo, Bell Atlantic, Norwest Banks, and Children's Television Workshop. "Ever since I was the size of a fire hydrant I drew pictures that I could play in," says Richard. "Pictures in which to wander far and wide, to go anywhere and do anything. I could run barefoot through a forest fire, lasso giant sloths and saber-toothed tigers, and then get ever so sssthtuck in the Tar Pits, only to be rescued by German shepherds. Pictures were my own rocket ship to planets of unlimited imagination."
Richard Jesse Watson lives in Washington State with his wife and children. His latest title, The Boy Who Went Ape, is illustrated by his son, Benjamin James Watson.