Featured Artwork: A New Cat Mystery Series, “Calico Cat Mysteries”

This book introduces Olivia in her very own series by Patricia Fry! Olivia is the kitten Patricia adopted last year after she lost Lily, who had also appeared on a few covers. Olivia is not only beautifully marked, but she has a bold and curious purrsonality and that’s what inspired the new series of books.

Olivia works her magic outdoors just like Rags does. In this story a property housing a long-standing feral cat colony may be purchased by developers, and when they arrive there they find that the cats have been digging up personal items from missing persons from years before.

For this cover I used one of my woodsy settings and added a piece of police tape because the scene is quickly under investigation, and chose a pose for Olivia from photos Patrica sent that showed her direct expression and the satisfied crossed paws that shows her many markings so we know who we’re dealing with.

Just Olivia.

I also wanted to distinguish the two series of books so I added some distinctive changes to the cover. I added a solid bar top and bottom for specific text like the author’s name. I placed this at the bottom with a tagline about Patricia’s authorship of the Klepto Cat Mystery series. Also, I’ve always liked a place where information about the book can be easily found, like the fact this is one of a series, so the series name and the number of the book in the series is at the top. I do like series where each book has a different color for this information, but I chose black for the bar and orange for the text because of Olivia’s coloring, and no matter what else is on the cover, she’s always going to be there. And last but not least, new fonts. I’ve began working as a typesetter 35 years ago, and since then I can never have enough fonts. Lately I’ve been favoring the ones that have variable letters and positioning, and also some swashes or decoration. I used two of my recent acquisitions on this cover.

Here’s the synopsis:

Olivia proves she’s not just a pretty face. Parker Campbell, an investigative reporter, and her calico cat, Olivia, have been summoned to help save a long-standing cat colony site from the grips of eager developers. They arrive on scene to discover that the property has become enshrouded in a most unsettling mystery. The feral cats are digging up personal items belonging to missing persons who vanished years earlier. Was this the site of a mass murder, a cult ritual gone wrong, or an unexplained phenomenon? Parker teams up with Detective Judson Caldwell, who has taken a personal leave to secretly investigate the mystery, and soon learns what drives his obsession with this case. Olivia, the sweet and sassy calico, struts her stuff in this story. She locates a lost toddler and ends up getting herself arrested. She isn’t about to take this insult lying down, however. She escapes from custody and trashes the police station. Olivia alerts Parker to trouble when they visit her aunt’s home and find that the woman has detained a burglar in a most unusual way. Olivia also finds major clues in the convoluted cat colony mystery, one that promises a glimmer of hope for a long-grieving parent.

You can find Oh! Olivia on Amazon.com.

But Patricia isn’t done with the Klepto Cat Mysteries! We are working on the cover for Book 52.

About the illustration materials

I use a self-prepared two-ply illustration board with a very fine surface texture to hold the pastel, and also be able to use other media. It’s not entirely opaque so I can put it on my light table and trace the details in place. I start out with a sketch in watercolor and even marker to block in the colors and especially the dark areas. Then I put it on my drafting table and finish it with my pastels, first the soft pastels for coverage, then pastel pencils for details.

Depending on the detail in the illustration, I work them sometimes twice the final size of the cover. Getting all the details just right on an illustration like these book covers can be tricky when they are small. The books are 5″ x 8″, but these illustrations are usually about 10″ x 16″, which helps me to paint in all the details.

About these book covers

I’ve illustrated a total of 51 covers for Patricia. You can see them in any post for the Klepto Cat Mystery series.

Klepto Cat Book Covers

CWA 2018 Muse Medallion AND Certificate of Excellence for “Illustration: Series”

Illustration: Series, Klepto Cat Covers 27 through 32
MUSE™ Medallion and Certificate of Excellence

Patricia publishes about six books each year and I’ve entered the covers since 2015. I’ve won a Certificate of Excellence each year, and this year won a MUSE™ Medallion too.

2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019

Click the links above to see the other awards.

Bookmarks for Patricia L. Fry's books.
Bookmarks for Patricia L. Fry’s books.

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.

We’ve also printed several runs of note cards from multiple covers, including a Christmas series.

. . . . . . .

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.

Featured Artwork

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.

Custom Commissioned Artwork and Illustrations from Portraits of Animals


From Animal Portraits to Book Covers to Advertisements

In addition to creating commissioned portraits beloved animal companions for the past 25 years, I’ve also been a commercial artist since the 1980s both full-time and freelance and created many illustrations, book covers, advertisements, display signs and more. Visit my Commissioned Artwork pages to read more. They are not quite complete at the moment but there is still quite a bit to look at.


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.

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© 2022 | 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!





From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

4 thoughts on “Featured Artwork: A New Cat Mystery Series, “Calico Cat Mysteries”

    • May 28, 2021 at 12:48 am

      Thank you! It’s so nice to draw cats for all these covers!

  • May 26, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    Beautiful cover. I can’t wait to read this.

    • May 28, 2021 at 12:49 am

      Thank you, Ellen. It will be interesting to see how different the styles of the two series are.


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