Kate Jane Neal trained at Edinburgh College of Art, studying Ceramics & Fine Art, and won the Wedgwood New Designer of the year award. She was awarded the Andrew Grant Scholarship to study at postgraduate level, and went on to exhibit in various galleries throughout the UK, including the Scottish Gallery who represented her at SOFA in Chicago. She was involved in creating small private painting and ceramic commissions for over 15 years but then felt compelled to write and illustrate her first children’s book, Words and Your Heart, in response to observing verbal bullying within schools. Submitting it to established publishers in the UK brought an encouraging response but no firm commitment so she raised money herself through Kickstarter (hitting her target three times over) to make her own limited edition of the book. ‘All the little moments we encounter in our lives can be treasured, and my aim is to invest my time in creating books that make more of those moments,’ she says. The response from readers, both children and adults, in her direct, warm and life-affirming work has been overwhelming and she is now regularly invited to visit schools.
With a focus on how illustrations and storytelling can work together to discuss emotional issues and bring home both poignant and inspirational messages to everyone, however young or old they may be, she now writes and illustrates from her home in North Cornwall, where she lives with her husband and four children.