Early life and education
Felstead commenced her career by creating designs for book covers. Among the authors whose books she worked on were William Golding (including Rites of Passage), Iris Murdoch (including The Philosopher's Pupil), Isabel Allende, Nadine Gordimer, and Alice Walker. She has produced artwork for advertising campaigns, packaging, T-shirts, opera, ballet, television, magazines, greeting cards and books. Felstead's commercial clients have included British Airways, Channel 4, Ballet Rambert, Fiat, Oxfam, Lynx (the anti fur trade organisation), Walker Books, Barclays Bank, the Glastonbury Festivals, Penguin Books, Radio Times, and The Body Shop. She also created the cover illustration for John Martyn's 1984 album Sapphire.
Her artwork has been shown in many exhibitions in Britain and abroad. She was runner-up in the Mother Goose Award for her illustrations in A Caribbean Dozen and has also received awards for book illustration in the United States.
Reviewers have praised the wide range of media and styles which Felstead uses in her work, as well as the way they "realize and complement" the texts. A Caribbean Dozen, one reviewer said, "is made even more attractive by the wide-ranging artwork of Ms. Felstead. Her styles sweep from collages to pastels, watercolors to oils to inks. Some illustrations are bold and primitive, others impressionistic." The Circle of Days, an adaptation of Canticle of the Sun, is made "outstanding [by] .. the immediacy of Ms. Lindbergh's verse and the beauty of Ms. Felstead's collage paintings, which combine childlike cut-paper images with earthy watercolour and gouache backgrounds. Just like the writing, what at first appears simple is actually quite complex." In Who Made Me?, a reviewer found, "The art matches the text in its mood--it, too, is reverent but childlike. Mixed-media illustrations combining paints with delicate cut-paper work, they capture the awe-inspiring vastness of the African landscape as well as the intimacy and warmth of Zanele's relationship to her homeland and her seven friends." In Flamingo Dream, another reviewer said, "The art is a wonderful collage mix: objects, torn paper, and childlike drawings colored in pencil or crayon, echo the honesty and realism in the text and are exactly what this little girl would have drawn or collected." One reviewer said about Earthshake - Poems from the Ground Up, "Felstead’s energetic collages of maps, tiny photocopied figures, colored pencil, and paint marvelously evocate action and mood."
Cathie Felstead lives in Ashwell, Hertfordshire.
- 1994 - A Caribbean Dozen: Poems from Caribbean Poets, John Agard and Grace Nichols, editors; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- 1998 - The Circle of Days, Reeve Lindbergh, author; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- 2000 - Who Made Me?, Shirley Tullock, author; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- 2000 - Big Wolf and Little Wolf, Sharon Phillips Denslow, author; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- 2002 - Flamingo Dream, Donna J. Napoli, author; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- 2003 - Earthshake - Poems from the Ground Up, Lisa Westberg Peters, author; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- 2006 - An Island Grows, Lola M. Schaefer, author; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- 2007 - Family Lullaby, Jody Fickes Shapiro, author; Cathie Felstead, illustrator
- "The Roar of Disapproval - Lynx". The Observer. London, England. 30 October 1988. p. 65. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- "The 1991 Roar of Disapproval Range for Lynx". The Observer. London, England. 21 April 1991. p. 83. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Felstead on the 'Children's Book Illustration' website
- Larsen, Anita (12 April 1998). "For youngsters, books about renewal". The Des Moines Register. Des Moines, Iowa. p. 3Q. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Glassman, Molly Dunham (27 January 1995). "Winter books sure to warm the heart". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. p. 4D. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Pearce, Sara (12 January 1999). "Open up to a year's worth of joy and beauty". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C5. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- "Who Made Me?". Publishers' Weekly. 3 January 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "Book Review: Flamingo Dream". Kirkus Reviews. 15 March 2002. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "Book Review: EARTHSHAKE Poems from the Ground Up". Kirkus Reviews. 15 July 2003. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- Weller, Joan (10 December 1994). "End Year of the Family with a book under the tree". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. p. K5. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Kupferberg, Herbert (8 January 1995). "Poems - 99 and Up". The Lincoln Star - Parade Magazine. Lincoln, Nebraska. p. 19. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Rodriguez, Judith (18 February 1995). "Rhythmic Caribbean delight". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. p. Extra: 9. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Basbanes, Nicholas A. (19 April 1998). "Here's season to celebrate". The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. F13. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- "Book Review: Big Wolf and Little Wolf". Kirkus Reviews. 15 April 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "Book Review: An Island Grows". Kirkus Reviews. 1 June 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "Book Reviews: Family Lullaby". Kirkus Reviews. 15 April 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "Family Lullaby". Publishers' Weekly. 21 May 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2019.