Kate McLelland

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For as long as she can remember, Kate McLelland has loved drawing and painting. Outdoor holidays with her family inspired hours of doodling animals and nature. “One of my favourite childhood memories is listening to a blackbird mimicking a car alarm in an apple tree, as my sister and I lay on a picnic blanket in the back garden. It was a hot summer’s day and we were using a large umbrella propped up to shade us. I think it was followed by Dad soaking us with a garden hose and we hid under the umbrella. I grew up on the moors so any book that starts with ‘Once upon a time there was a dark, dark moor’, was going to be a winner!”  

Kate grew up in the North East of England before moving to London to gain a BA Hons in Theatre Design. After completing her degree in London she moved to Edinburgh, where she gained an MFA in Illustration with Distinction at Edinburgh College of Art. For her final degree show she created two children’s books, one of which was highly commended by the MacMillan Prize. During her master she was also nominated for a D&AD Illustration award and a Penguin Design Award.

Since then she has gone from strength to strength as a children’s book writer and illustrator. One of her final degree show picture books has been published by Hodder Children’s Books as ‘Blackbird, Blackbird, What Do You Do?’ and she is the illustrator of the best-selling ‘There Was A Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie’ written  by Rebecca Colby and published by Floris Books. Also for Floris, she has illustrated a lively series of ‘first’ board books, and the first in her own picture book series about a little girl and her miniature Shetland pony, ‘Isla and Pickle: Best Friends’ was published in 2017, with more stories to come. She is also the illustrator for a number of Nosy Crow’s popular ‘Press Out and Decorate’ titles, including ‘Unicorns’!

Kate lives near Edinburgh with her husband and young family and she says that her two biggest inspirations are her children.

A selection of Kate’s books:


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