Walter Trier was born on June 25, 1890, in Prague, the son of a factory owner. He attended the Nikolander secondary school. For a short time, he went to the industrial art school in Prague but changed over to the Academy in Munich in 1906. There he studied under Franz von Stuck.
Already in 1909 after the completion of his studies, his first published drawings appeared in the satire magazine "Simplicissimus" and in "Jugend." The artists Thomas Theodor Heine, Max Slevogt, George Grosz, and Käthe Kollwitz also published in these leading Munich art magazines.
Because of his previous work, the Berlin publisher Otto Eysler employed him as a press illustrator for the "Lustige Blätter" in 1920. Trier's sarcasm was primarily directed at everyday life in the big city, high society, and the political events of the day. Within 10 years, over one thousand color illustrations by Trier had been printed.
He was one of the most sought after drawers in Berlin. In addition, he did the title page and illustrations for the Ullstein-Magazines "UHU" and "Die Dame" for two decades. In 1925, he began cooperating with the "Kabarett der Komiker" and was elected as a new member of the "Berliner Secession." In 1929, the children's book author Edith Jacobsohn sent the young Erich Kästner to the experienced illustrator for the artwork for his first children's book "Emil und die Detektive." This began a lasting collaboration.
In the same year, Trier was elected as second chairman of the press illustrators. In January 30, 1933, Trier, who is of Jewish ancestry, had to leave Germany with his family. In December 1936, Walter Trier settled in England. He began doing the cover illustrations for the monthly magazine "Lilliput" in 1937.
During the war, he illustrated political pamphlets and his first anti-National Socialist caricatures appeared. In 1939, Walter Trier rejected an offer from Walt Disney. Trier and his wife became British citizens in 1947 and followed their daughter to Ontario, Canada.
In 1951, the first exhibition of his water colors and oil paintings was put on at the University of Toronto. Walter Trier died on July 8, 1951, in his studio in Collingwood.