Even in the nursery, Kate Mawdsley preferred to play with paper, pencils and paint rather than toys and she maintained her interest in art throughout her education, which culminated with her gaining a BA Hons. degree in Fashion and Textiles. She has recently undertaken a course at Cambridge University on the History of Modern Art, which has inspired many of her more recent collections.
After completing her degree, Kate Mawdsley spent the first ten years of her career in the fashion industry. In the early 1990s, she began gradually to move into more illustrative work to create greetings cards, kitchenware and general paper products. Since then, her repertoire and collection have expanded each year and Kate Mawdsley's work can now be seen on products ranging from mugs to cross-stitch, and from fabrics to tableware.
Also inspired particularly by pre-Raphaelite and Impressionist artists, Kate Mawdsley's work has concentrated specifically on animals, wild flowers and other representations of the natural world. Her own two dogs, a fox terrier and a cocker spaniel, often feature in her work, as does a friend's springer spaniel.
Working mainly in gouache or water-colour, Kate Mawdsley made her living initially as an illustrator and as a designer of fashion textiles, but she now concentrates mainly on her enormously successful design work.