Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Featured Artwork: Calico Cat Mystery Book Five: “Olivia Goes Wild”

cozy cat mystery illustrated book cover
Calico Cat Mystery Book 5: Olivia Goes Wild

I loved capturing these expressions. In this Calico Cat Mystery, Olivia and Rags are looking out a picture window at something…

Rags is with Olivia at the lodge in Colorado and there is a cougar in the story–it turns out he is a sort of friend to Rags. I’m thinking about showing the cougar looking at the two cats who are quite aware of him. Rags and Olivia are sitting on the back of a sofa, perhaps, at a window looking out at the cougar. Could we show the back of the cougar and the front of the two cats? The closer we can get to the cats, the better.

Showing the cougar from the back meant backing up from the cats, which made them smaller, and it just looked awkward. So I found a photo of a rustic-looking room that had a prominent fireplace, then put the cats on the back of the couch.

Patricia sent a photo of Olivia with this expression, but sitting down. I used a photo of Namir for Rags and he initially had very upright ears. They looked a little too static and the background was very dark, so I changed Olivia to be standing with her tail up, and that worked really well.

But Rags with the alert ears just wasn’t working. I considered several other postures and faces, thinking through a cat’s body language when it sees another animal outside. The cougar is his friend, but ears would be swiveling at seeing a larger predator who is also known to him. So I found the face and ears from Klepto Cat book 43, Whiskerful Thinking, where Rags has his ears pulled back as he’s pulling the cat along in the basket. That did it!

Calico Cat Mystery Book Four: “Olivia Goes Wild”

Olivia Tames the Wild-Wild West.

In this story, Olivia and her friend, Rags, the klepto cat, vacation at a ranch in Colorado with their families. Together, they dig up important clues to a tragic mystery, and they unearth something that will change a life forever. While Olivia finds a friend for a lonely aging horse and leads a brood of helpless ducklings to safety, Rags puts himself in danger to save a cougar’s life. This is a fun read with interesting human and animal characters, a baffling mystery, and a lot of unexpected surprises.

You can find Calico Cat Mystery: Olivia Goes Wild on Patricia’s website and on

I illustrated and designed this cover in October. In the meantime, we’re currently working on two more covers, one for each of the series.

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 about 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 also illustrated covers for Patricia’s original cozy cat mystery series. 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 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 | | 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: Calico Cat Mystery Book Five: “Olivia Goes Wild”

  • I tried it with the back of the cougar’s head, but that doesn’t look like much, and I did try a reflection, but it was too visually confusing for a small book cover–it looked like a ghost!

  • Mary McNeil

    Any way to show the cougar as reflected in the window from the point of view of the viewer ?


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