Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Featured Artwork: Calico Cat Mystery Book Three: “Then Came Olivia”

Then Came Olivia by Patricia Fry book cover

We like to keep Olivia front and center on her book covers, literally. We did this with the first book, and it became a style. But which Olivia should it be? Naturally, Patricia has dozens of photos to choose from. I had some definite ideas when Patricia sent her idea.

I’m working on Book 3 and it involves missing cats. They’re eventually found living with a hoarder (of sorts). What about a close up of Olivia sitting facing front so she is the main focus, and in the background, there’s an old fashioned porch with a lot of cats hanging out–some could be seen through windows. Would that work? If the porch idea doesn’t work, we could just have other cats in the background.

Now this is obviously more than a porch, and it grew into this design rather quickly. I take photos of nice houses, of porches and windows and all sorts of features that I might use someday in an illustration or a painting, or I might even use it when working on my own house. This is a neighbor’s house, lovingly kept up, and the colors are bright and the patterns clear. This house appears on By Crook or By Cat, and I had an idea about the porch because the little dormer over the steps accommodated a vertical book over. But making Olivia as big as we wanted her didn’t work out with enough room over her shoulders for cats on the porch. I needed some height.

So I decided to use the whole house, because the windows would accommodate. I could put her off to one side a little, then put the cats in the windows.

Now, how do I place Olivia. I thought of putting her at the end of the walk leading to the front porch steps, but it looked awkward.

A picket fence! Of course I have photos of picket fences. And Olivia could be sitting on one of the pediments where the gate was hinged.

Initially, I had the idea of having her sit facing the house but gracefully turned to face the reader in one of Patricia’s many photos, but she blended into the house in that posture. Another photo worked perfectly, and in the windows you can see I used photos of actual cats in windows from my neighborhood.

Here’s the synopsis:

Olivia claws and charms her way out of some sticky situations.The search is on for Detective Jud’s missing daughter, and Olivia doesn’t miss a beat as she scratches up important clues. She even does a little undercover work, but not because she wants to. When Parker and the detective meet up with a sister and brother in search of their missing mother, they join forces in a daring rescue attempt. And the spunky calico does her part to end the charade and free those who were under a wicked spell.

You can find Then Came Olivia on Patricia’s website and on Amazon.com.

I illustrated and designed this cover in September. In the meantime, we’ve also finished Klepto Cat Mysteries book 54 and Olivia book number 4. As always, it’s a challenge to keep up with Patricia!

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 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.

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