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Featured Artwork: Klepto Cat Book Cover No. 30, “Revenge at Its Felinest”

Revenge At Its Felinest cover.
Revenge At Its Felinest cover.

I had a great time with this cover—cats in a flower garden? Any day! Here’s Klepto Cat Book Cover No. 30.

Patricia told me that this story features Rags’s skills at finding things and people. He helps to locate Savannah and Rochelle who have been abducted. A classy but comfortable turquoise shoe is a major clue to their abduction and should appear somewhere on the cover.

Then there’s a subplot unfolding including an older Scottish man who is searching for something where, generations ago, family members left it under a tree before anything was built on the site. Today it’s where Iris and Craig’s new home stands. The family is frantically looking for the item so they can return it and end a curse. For illustration purposes, she described the item as small and gold and actually a religious symbol, but for the cover leave it less detailed and show only a small bit of it.

The item is buried in a beautiful garden where the cover illustration will take place, so I could do anything I want with the background. There could also be a few other cats in addition to Rags, also hidden in the garden.

So! I knew right away that I’d start with photos of my friend Judi’s garden when I’d photographed her there about a decade ago for her business cards, and took a fair number of flower and cat photos. Her youngest cat Holly was a great model. You can see that the basic layout for the image is right here.

Reference for the overall garden scene, but the wrong kitty.
Reference for the overall garden scene, but the wrong kitty.

Of course, she looks nothing like Rags, so I drew on top of her in Photoshop when I placed Rags in that spot. But I did include her under the bench from this photo.

Reference for Holly under the bench.
Reference for Holly under the bench.

The book cover is taller and narrower than the base photo so I had to add other items. I have to keep the main image between the title and the author line, and there was plenty at the bottom. That meant adding to the top and I had the idea for a fence with rambling roses, partly because I wanted to add bright colors and also a break in the flowers where I could add the title so it would be easier to read. I changed the plant next to rags to irises for color from the photo I have of the hummingbird and irises, and behind that added some phlox for more color and height.

And I’ll bet you’ve noticed the tortie cat behind the irises! That’s Sienna, making her debut in one of my illustrations.

Sienna in the cat book library.
Sienna in the cat book library.

Rags dug up the small object right in front of his paw. I used these Haeger vases as references even though the object is small and gold and migrated from being a religious object. I just kept picturing it that way.

Reference for the hidden gold object.
Reference for the hidden gold object.

And the turquoise shoe—I almost forgot it, didn’t feel like taking a photo of it and just sketched my shoe into the layout.

I layered it all together for my Photoshop comp to show Patricia for approval, then painted it up. You can find Revenge at Its Felinest on

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, Cats in Cahoots, The Amazing CATventure, By Crook or By Cat, Merriment, Mayhem and Meows, A Christmas to Purr About, Cattywampus Travels, Cats in the Belfry, CATalyst for Clues., The Perilous PURRsuit, Secrets, Trickery and Meows, The ImPAWsible Mission, and Meowmoirs of a Kleptocat.

Klepto Cat Book Covers

CWA 2017 Certificate of Excellence for “Illustration: Series”

2015, 2016 & 2017

For three years in a row my illustrations for the Klepto Cat Mysteries have won Certificates of Excellence in the Cat Writers’ Association’s annual communications contest. The covers included in these awards include covers 9 through 20, or Mansion of Meows through By Cat or By Crook.

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 two runs of note cards from three of the covers.

. . . . . . .

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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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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