For the next cover I had the chance to use another foster photo and photos of another familiar place. Patricia Fry’s Klepto Cat mystery number 19, The Amazing CATventure, includes a little interspecies communication and a lot of running, so this cover is pretty busy. Here was Patricia’s message.
I’ve started book 19. I’m calling it The Cat-tastic Adventure. Or it may become Cats on the Run. In this story, Rags and the tabby, Dolly, escape when Colbi moves into a new home. They return 2 days later and Rags has blood on his paw. In the meantime, a beloved member of the community goes missing and the blood–it is learned–matches the missing person, so authorities ask for citizens’ help in tracking the cats during their two day “catventure,” in hopes of finding the man. I’m thinking about maybe a picture of the two cats walking across the top of a fence in a neighborhood–a dog maybe trying to get to them or one of them about to climb down into the yard. We want something that shows the cats out of their element–maybe shown not where you’d typically see a cat–but someplace where there might be surveillance cameras as in the story they were caught on tape several times in business districts as well as neighborhoods. I would like to keep the colors bright, so maybe in a nursery. I like the idea of the nursery–maybe chasing a mouse through the nursery–they could have one cornered??? But let’s give the mouse an escape route. Don’t want any violence.. ha ha.
Hmmm, do I have photos of nurseries? Flowers, statuary, interesting pottery, well, yes, I do. I sent a number of photos and an idea. Because the last cover had been nearly covered with pink azalea flowers we decided to tone it down this time and use this basic image to build on.
I knew I’d put the two cats on the bench, and modify elements like the cinder blocks and the black rain barrel. Though Bert is orange, the cat he was modeling for is a gray tabby.
And I used one of the very first photos Patricia sent me of Smokey, on whom the character of Rags is based, to create Rags’s face.
And because we’d ultimately decided a little bird would be telling them something, I switched out the black rain barrel for my old bird bath.
After the first draft Patricia suggested Bert be looking down at the little animal figures below the bench. Possibly he’s getting a few clues from them. I changed the plant between the two to a pink petunia. We also decided the sketch was too busy with the pots on the top shelf, so I added another fern to fill in the top, and we decided to change the colors of the pots to coordinate with the rest of image. For the colorful bird that wouldn’t be lost in all the busy-ness I chose a scrub jay, common in the area of California where the stories take place. Here is the finished sketch.
You can see that much less of the illustration is actually used when the cover is designed and trimmed, but I always fill it out to the edges so that I can move it around depending where the title and author appear.
So there we are, another cover completed. And I’m actually pretty well caught up now, with only cover number 20 that I just finished. You can find The Amazing CATventure on Amazon.com.
About the illustration materials
I don’t use paper for most of these illustrations but chose Ampersand brand Pastelbord, which is a piece of Masonite with a very fine clay and marble-dust coating that has very little texture but holds layers of pastel so I can both do my finger-painting thing with blending softer pastels and sketch with harder pastels and pastel pencils, and it stand up well to multiple changes. I began the painting with soft pastels to cover the major areas with layers of color. I finished up the details and edges with pastel pencils.
But once I began working out the covers with all this Victorian detail like PAWSitively Sinister, I needed a little assistance in keeping the details in order so it didn’t take me until next year to do the painting. I used a self-prepared paper with a very fine surface texture and not entirely opaque so I could put it on my light table and trace the details in place and even draw on the light table with pastel pencils. These illustrations are 8″ x 10″ and the books are 5″ x 8″. Because the illustration is reduced in size it’s easy to lose details so I can’t go too big, and especially when working with patterns it’s important nothing is out of place or it’s immediately noticeable. Getting all the details just right on an illustration like this interior with cats can be tricky when it’s this small. The risk with this paper is that the surface is delicate and actually drawing too hard will remove the roughened texture and I’ll have a hole in my drawing! But it’s great fun to take my Photoshop composite and turn it into a painting.
About these book covers
I’ve illustrated a total of 19 covers for Patricia. You can see them below, but unfortunately you can’t click on the images to go to the article and read more about them. Use these links instead: Catnapped, Cat-Eye Witness, Sleight of Paw, Undercover Cat, The Colony Cat Caper, The Corral Cat Caper, Gallery Cat Caper, Mansion of Meows, Celebrity Cat Caper, Pawtners in Crime, Pawsitively Sinister, The Purrfect Lie, A Picture Purrfect Christmas, Meow for the Money, Claws for a Cause, Cabin FURvor, A MEOWvelous Witness, and Cats in Cahoots
All books are available in electronic format and most for print on Amazon.com as well as find the print versions on Patricia’s website. Reviews have been good, and a few reviewers have even mentioned the covers! I hope you enjoy these books, and Patricia and I are currently working on the next cover. That woman can write!
When we finished book 12 we also updated the two-sided bookmark that includes all twelve books so far which Patricia can hand out at book signings and book shows.
. . . . . . .
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.
Each week on Wednesday I feature a piece of artwork, sometimes a current or historic portrait, sometimes an illustration or an art project from years ago, usually cat-themed, but sometimes wildlife or even non-animal subjects, and even projects from my commercial art life. Read other Featured Artwork posts.
Subscribe to my e-newsletter
Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.
Subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle
Start with a 14-day free trial. You can cancel at any time during the free trial period. If you enjoy your subscription, do nothing and it will automatically continue at the regular monthly price of 99 cents. Click here to subscribe to The Creative Cat on your Kindle.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals 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.
© 2016 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!