Author Patricia Fry published her second novel in the mystery series “Klepto Cats”, this one titled Cat-Eye Witness. I had the opportunity once again to create a painted book cover illustration, with Rags the cat. This book was recently released as an e-book, and I have the final cover and the link below.
Since Patricia and I had worked together on Catnapped earlier this year, we had the system ready and I had a feel for the type of cover illustration and design Patricia preferred. This book was also to be an e-book, and one thing we’d learned with these covers is that, though we love the highly detailed covers on printed books, they don’t always translate well to the size of a thumbnail on the internet, so simpler is better.
Patricia described a strong idea she had that was a scene from the beginning of the story and sent me the text in the book that covered the scene: Rags on a shelf, hiding behind a basket in the dark because he’s just witnessed a murder. As before I worked up sketches in pencil, and as before the cover migrated far from the original idea to the illustration above, from the scene of the crime with Rags hiding, with him in the room on an antique dresser, to him facing a lineup of suspects, to him looking at the one main suspect, in jail, with an inkwell next to him as evidence. The slideshow below shows the metamorphosis in the series of pencil sketches.
The final painted sketch is at the top of this article, and here are a few full-size detail images from the illustration. First, Rags looking fearfully up at the female suspect.
Next, a detail of the woman’s shoes and legs. Because the jail scene is typically fairly colorless and Rags is gray and white, we took the opportunity to add some striking colors in the woman’s outfit. She’s not your typical murder suspect, and Patricia had described her as “classy”, not young but youthful, graceful, dressing from high-quality vintage and second-hand shops, liking high-heeled shoes and bright colors, hence the red stiletto pumps and, farther down, the red polka-dot skirt in a knee-length style, cut and pattern popular in the 1940s. The inkwell was just lost only sitting there empty, and even with dark ink it was not at all interesting. However, once we tipped it over and had red ink spill out, red that matched the woman’s outfit, we found the best way to include it.
Below is the final, finished cover. We added Rags’ little name tag later just to clarify his role in the story.
So there you have it, the genesis of an illustrated book cover, and I hope it looks enticing to you!
I also designed bookmarks for this book as I had for Catnapped, but this time the bookmark also featured Patricia’s first novel, “Catnapped” so she could use it for events featuring both of her books.
About the illustration materials
I didn’t use paper for these illustrations, but Ampersand brand “Pastelbord”, which is a Masonite panel with an incredibly wonderful finish for capturing fine details, which I needed for this illustration, and the original illustration is actually 9″ x 12″. I began the painting with soft pastels to cover the major areas with layers of color—even though the background appears gray and white there are many colors blended in to give it dimension. I finished up the details and edges with pastel pencils.
You can find Cat-Eye Witness and Catnapped by Patricia Fry on Amazon.com. Reviews have been good, and a few reviewers have even mentioned the covers! I hope you enjoy both books, and best of luck in sales to Patricia, who I finally had the chance to meet at the Cat Writers’ Association conference at the end of October.
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Read more about book covers I’ve designed. Also, click here to read more about the Purrs of Wisdom cover and bookmarks, and also about books I’ve designed on my blog, What’s New?.
Are you interested in illustrations or a book cover, or book design? Please contact me, I’ll be happy to discuss your project.
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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.