Beier teaches an artist residency for youth Grades K-5 called “Story to Pictures.” Students write their own stories, present the stories in a panel layout (what professionals call a “book dummy”), and then paint one or two full-page open spreads with watercolors on paper. Students love writing their own narratives and bringing them to life with pictures.
It’s thrilling when the kids call out “It’s art day!”—they love to be creative together and they’re proud of the art they make.
I was born in New York City and started drawing early by the side of my artist grandmother. For 35 years I have illustrated for children—award-winning picture books, biographies and classics. I have lived abroad in England and Germany and brought the richness of those and other old-world cultures into my work. A recent work is an abridged version of Les Miserables for a South Korean publisher.
Many of the books I illustrate grow out of the authors’ personal histories and experience, and I bring that element to the work I do with children in the Art Center residency. An author’s narrative can be sparked by many things—a chance encounter, an unexpected find, a strong emotion—and then brought to life on the page with drawings.
I have won numerous illustration awards over 30 years of illustrating children’s books. My picture book The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood, written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, won the Smithsonian Best Children’s Book Award and the American Indian Library Association Best Picture Book Award. It tells the story of the author’s Christmas on the Rosebud reservation when she was 12 years of age, in winter 1945.
I am an almost 20-year member of the Corvallis Children’s Writers Group, in which I share, with others, the support of members’ writing and art.