On a sunny day in early April, 2010 I spent a delightful hour on the phone with a remarkable lady named Sheilah Beckett. Sheilah is 97 years old. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1913, Sheilah Beckett always loved to draw. She doesn’t recall being inspired by the “Sunday Funnies” or any specific illustrators from her childhood but she does remember loving the artwork in her children’s books and that those illustrations made a big impression on her.
Sheilah never attended art school… she is entirely self-taught. She began working immediately when she graduated from high school. Her first job was creating advertising artwork for a Portland area department store. From there she quickly moved on to Los Angeles and landed a contract to illustrate a series of Gilbert & Sullivan books.