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Featured Artwork: Klepto Cat Book 62, “Catch Meow If You Can”

Klepto Cat Mystery Book Cover illustration and design

It’s time for the next Klepto Cat Mystery book cover in line, book 62, “Catch Meow If You Can.” In her description Patricia described a certain little black cat that looked like a little black cat I know well.

Things are disappearing from neighborhood homes and other things are showing up. There’s lots of speculation as to whats going on, who’s doing this and, of course, Rags, the klepto, is being blamed.

Turns out a pert, wide-eyed, sleek black female is the culprit and Rags knows it, of course. So I’m thinking about Rags with the black cat on the cover along with some interesting loot–jewelry, of course, and other small items. We’ve done something similar before…It could be indoors or out as Rags meets up with the black cat several times in different circumstances. I want it to appear that Rags is involved in some way, but we need the black cat in there as she is actually more involved.

Sounds like Little Mimi Cat to me! So of course I planned on using her image, and I have plenty to choose from in all sorts of places and lighting and activities. And then I could use one of several photos of Namir interacting with things, as he always had his paws in things, and decide what stolen items would be in the photo based on their postures.

Considering the jewelry my first thought was an antique dresser with jewel boxes and other small items that would be easy for a klepto cat to steal, easy for cats to get up onto and I liked the idea of the mirror, just for interest. Working it out, however, the mirror was a bit too much complication, and both cats are dark—gray and black—so we needed something light-colored so they’d stand out better. I decided a mantel would be a good way to isolate them and the objects. I chose a mantel that I had used a couple times on prior covers, but always far in the background.

And there you see it above! Mimi’s eyes are green, not gold, but I got her some virtual  contacts to take care of that. Rags is pulling a pearl necklace out of the clock on the mantel, and the sleek black cat is looking pretty smug.

I had purchased a few new options for my drawing board/paper and decided to give this one a try because it had a slight texture and might hold the pastel better. The texture was a bit more pronounced than I wanted, though. I liked it when I did this cover, but when I got to the next one I decided I’d keep it for some less detailed works.

Here’s the synopsis:

Rags helps solve a neighborhood mystery. Neighbors are missing things and Rags is being accused. But who or what is leaving valuable items on random porches? Even local sheriff’s deputies are stymied. Meanwhile, the Iveys and Rags rush to save a sweet neighborhood cat and an abused dog that have been callously injured, and Margaret uses Rags to convict a woman she knows to be back in the business of exploiting innocent cats. This story features some humorous and some touching moments that Rags’s fans won’t want to miss.

You can find this book on Patricia’s website and on Amazon.com.

Just a little note…

We finished this design and cover in February 2023 so I’m finally getting closer to catching up with current covers. Well…we just finished cover 70 which means I’ve got quite a few covers to share in order to get there so while I’m working on other creative activities I will keep sharing these covers. I stopped painting in April 2023 to take care of the four cats I lost, stopped except for Patricia’s book covers for which I was very grateful during that time for the creative outlet that didn’t cut too close to home, and for the income that helped pay for all the care.

~~~

About the materials for the cover illustration

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 initially started out with a sketch in watercolor but I’ve been using my brush markers more often to block in the colors and especially the dark areas; the markers don’t cause as much ripple in the paper and have cleaner edges than watercolors. Then I put it on my easel and finish it with my pastels, a mix soft pastels and pastel pencils especially for details. Depending on textures I need in the art I sometimes similar weight drawing papers with different textures too.

Getting all the details just right on an illustration like these book covers can be tricky when they are small. Depending on the detail in the illustration, I work them almost twice the final size of the cover—the cover is 5″ x 8″ and I work at 9″ x 12″ or larger.

Other illustration materials I’ve used

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 stands 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. Especially when working with patterns it’s important nothing is out of place or it’s immediately noticeable. I start with a complete composite that I’ve built in Photoshop using all the photos and images and art so that Patricia can see just what it will look like, and I have all the details in place. It’s far more difficult to correct an illustration than a Photoshop composite, which I can adjust infinitely. That way, when I get to my actual painting, all the decisions have been made and I just need to paint.

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 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.

About these book covers

I’ve illustrated over 70 covers for Patricia over two series of cat mysteries. You can see the Klepto Cat covers below and search “Klepto Cat” to find all the posts.


Klepto Cat Book Covers

CWA 2018 and 2022 Muse Medallion AND Certificate of Excellence for “Illustration: Series”

 

Patricia publishes nearly a dozen books each year and I’ve entered the covers since 2015. I’ve won a Certificate of Excellence each year for either or both the Klepto Cat Mysteries and the Calico Cat Mysteries, and often won a MUSE™ Medallion too.

2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022

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

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy~~~

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.




Copyright

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!

 
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Bernadette

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.

2 thoughts on “Featured Artwork: Klepto Cat Book 62, “Catch Meow If You Can”

  • 15andmeowing

    I love the cover. I need to get reading. I am about 10 behind in the series.

    Reply

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