Karen Patkau was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. On the back of a photo of her at 10 months old, a telling note is written by her mother – “Here is Karen looking at a book. She enjoys books, especially those with pictures of animals in them.”
Karen started drawing at the age of three. She attended public school in Winnipeg and was known as the “class artist.” She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree, and became interested in visual storytelling while studying for her Master of Visual Arts degree at the University of Alberta.
Today, Karen lives in Toronto. She has been writing and illustrating for many years. Her work appears in children’s picture books, educational publications, posters, advertisements, magazines, package designs, greeting cards and art exhibitions.