by Ben Konuch, Student Public Relations Writer
Senior professional writing and information design (PWID) major Alease Brier thought she would be writing books, not illustrating them. But an unexpected opportunity has landed her name on the cover as the illustrator of a newly released children’s book.
This Cedarville University student is the proud illustrator of “Kids Can’t Drink Coffee,” written by Emma Townsend and available for purchase July 2023.
Brier had no prior plans to enter the illustrating world until her mother, a well-known artist in their Liberty, Indiana, community, was asked to illustrate a children’s book set for release in July 2023. Brier’s mother considered it but quickly realized she would not be able to accept due to her preexisting workload. Brier’s mother asked her daughter if she might be interested, and before she knew it, Brier was onboard as illustrator for this book.
Brier had plenty of prior experience with art but saw it more as a hobby than a career. She enjoyed painting with her free time and had worked to create scenery backdrops for a theater company and local vacation Bible school programs. Illustrations for a book were completely out of her comfort zone.
“I didn’t want to say yes because I really didn’t feel qualified at first,” Brier explained. “But God had really just plopped this into my lap and kept the door open, so I decided to take the next step and give it a whirl.”
Given mostly free reign on her interpretations for the illustrations, Brier knew she wanted to use watercolors to give the book a cozy, homey feel that would complement the theme of the book.
“Kids Can’t Drink Coffee” focuses on a little coffee shop and all the colorful characters that would frequent it. The shop and the characters were based on a real place and real people from Townsend and Brier’s Indiana hometown.
“The community in our town has really come around us, which has been super sweet,” said Brier. “We did a book reading in the coffee shop that was the inspiration for the book, and we had so many kids attend that the whole floor was taken up by kids who wanted to listen. It’s really sweet to see how the book has brought people together.”
This whole experience was extremely influential for Brier not just to grow her skills but to define her love for the arts and the direction she wants to move toward after graduation. This experience has led her to the field of instructional design, where she can use the writing skills she’s learned from her PWID classes in cooperation with her gift of art to communicate teaching material. She also isn’t opposed to more illustrating.
“If the opportunity comes to do this again, I’d love to take it,” Brier said. “Emma and I are hoping to do another book, so there’s a story in the works there that I might be able to help tell as well.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,456 undergraduate, graduate, and dual enrolled enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the bachelor of arts in professional writing and information design, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.