Thursday, June 21, 2018

TYPOGRAPHY is Creating ART with Word


NOW THIS IS WHAT I CALL A FONT!
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these days about fonts. I had downloaded a few fonts previously from a site called  www.dafont.com and learned that my favorite font artist so far is Kimberly Geswein (KG). I find myself drawn to almost all of her collection. 

What I realized that this site is fine if you are just using the fonts for personal use but if you want to sell the item, you need to purchase the license to use the font commercially. $5 doesn’t seem like much but it has put me on a hunt to locate a number of fonts that are free to use commercially that I like.

I'm not real good and remembering the names of the individual fonts or what style they are and so to help me with that I have dedicated a whole section to fonts in my creative journal. 

I wanted to share some of my favorite fonts with you that I found on www.font.google.com. This site has 878 fonts all free to download and use and I quote, "Free to use.  All fonts are released under open source licenses. You can use them in any non-commercial or commercial project.With so many unique fonts to use, you're bound to find something you like!"  Now isn't that awesome?

One of my very favorite font artists is Kimberly Geswein (KG).  Kimberly has a number of free fonts on this site along with others that need a small fee to purchase a commercial use license.  All these beautiful fonts make me a happy artist and I no longer need to feel that comic sans is my only choice. 
All royalty free font examples in my creative journal pages
I have downloaded a number of fonts to my PC. I saved the install zip file on my external drive so that I have access to all the same fonts from my laptop or other computer that I may be working on.



















Here is a list of my personal favorites:
HANDWRITING FONTS-
Cupcakie- I actually downloaded this while on vacation and can’t figure out where I got it but the license says commercial use is okay
Shadows Into Light- KG font
Love Ya like a Sister- KG font
Give You Glory- KG font
Sue Ellen Francisco- KG Font
Annie Use Your Telescope- KG Font
Moondust- Free this past week from FontBundle
Amatic SC- all caps
Coming Soon- KG font (this is the font I have decided to use when adding my signature to an art file)
SCRIPT FONTS- 
Princess Sofia-
Dancing Script
Sacramento
BLOCK OR OUTLINE FONTS-
KG Summershine- This is a Kimberly Font that I just love so I decided to spend the $5 and purchase the license for this one.
Vast Shadow-
Fredericka the Great-
Almost looks like a chalk lettering
Londrina Shadow-
Well there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know about fonts.
https://fonts.google.com/




Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Some Pig on a Coffee Mug

This Mug on ETSY
A few weeks back I was watching a YouTube video about increasing my Etsy Shop sales and discovered what appeared to be the perfect company to partner with to handle my drop ship order needs.  I want to begin changing my shop to more digital download files and drop ship listings so that I can free myself up to travel and not be required to keep such a large inventory of art related merchandise.  I'm getting so crowded in my studio that I'm finding it hard to create more.

With drop shipping you just place the order with a 3rd party vendor to fulfill the order.  You don’t have to carry a large expensive inventory of products or place orders with printers in large quantity.  Rather, you create the product on their site, advertise it on Etsy, Amazon, your website or any other venue that you might be using.  As an order comes in, you simply log into your computer and place the order and have it shipped directly to your customer.

The drop ship company that I learned about was called GearBubble.com.  I checked them out immediately and decided to give them a try.  I created a number of coffee mug designs and 2 jewelry designs all using my original artwork.  It was a bit of an effort and I wouldn’t say that the GearBubble site is super user friendly.  They have training videos but it still seemed confusing but I was determined to make this work.

I did have some issues when I came to opening the drop ship part of the account.  I had to email customer support 3 or 4 times to get it all resolved.  They did solve my problem and I’m still not sure why I couldn’t get the drop ship icon on my home page but it is there now and I guess that is what really matters.

I decided that before I had my first online order, I needed to check out the quality of this company and make sure that I was happy with the finished product.  So I decided to order the mug I though was probably the most difficult to reproduce and placed the order on May 13th and the mug was delivered on May 26th.  That is within the 8-10 business days promised and my mug looks very professional.  Overall, I feel I can be confident that my artwork will be nicely represented.

Here are the pictures I took of the mug I received and the link to my listing.  I chose to order the mug design that features my original acrylic painting that it titled "Some Pig".  I love how it turned out don't you?

Julie Townsend Studio Etsy Shop-Some Pig

  






Thursday, May 31, 2018

A FREE gift and That's NO BULL

Just in case you missed it, I’ve started a studio news email that I am trying to send out monthly.  This goes only to my friends on my VIP list.  The purpose is mostly for marketing and building relationships with people who appreciate good Country, Farmhouse Style or good Cow Art.  This week I sent out my 3rd email.  With this email, I offered a link that allowed for the printing out of these cute “Cow Thank You” stickers.  It just seemed the least I could do to show my appreciation to all my new friends.

You can download the file to your computer and print out the sheet as many times as you like.  Of course it is for  personal use only and so you can't try to share, copy or sell them but you can print them out over and over.  There is however a catch......I ask that you fist opt into my VIP list so that you can keep up with my newest artistic creations and all the fun giveaways that I have planned in the coming months.

All you have to do is head over to my website and I have made that super easy by giving you this link to click on.
Julie Townsend Studio 

It takes right over to the opt-in form.  While you are there, you might just take a minute to browse some of the artwork in the gallery.  I've been told that the average attention span online is 2.5 seconds but I don't believe that to be the case for Country or Farmhouse style art lovers like yourself. 

That’s all you need to do and I will send you the link for these stickers and you will get other fun stuff in my future emails.

Here is one response I received just last night from a friend after downloading these cute "Cow Thank You" stickers-
"Julie, Thank you so much for the adorable gift.  I printed off a sheet on some of my HP 80 lb soft Gloss printer paper.  They are perfect!!!  I just had my 76th b;d so will use them on my thank you cards.  Surprise gifts are always the most fun.  you really brightened my otherwise boring day!!!

I was browsing through your studio. Your work is so precious. Makes me smile and warms my heart (not much does these days at 76 yrs. old and being alone)! Not quite accurate - I have my sweet little Honey, a 5 yr old male Pomeranian, cute, funny, smart, attentive/loving, etc. ANYWAY, I no longer wear jewelry, but I would just love to purchase a print of the cow with the chickadee on her head if you have it available. Please advise. I have several of your other chickadee pieces. I'm so glad you sent your stickers out today, because I haven't visited your site in some time. As usual, your work brightened my day. Looking forward to hearing from you. 
Thanks for your time
,"
DS











Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Pretty in Pink

I like most flowers but peonies are hands down one of my favorites.  I can vividly recall my Grandmother's beautiful peonies and so I decided yesterday to create and design a planner sheet that focused on this amazing flower. I titled it, "Peonies and Lace" and it is now available on my Etsy Shop as an 8.5 x 11 digital download.  You can print it out yourself on your favorite sticker paper and even if you don’t use a fancy planner, these stickers are so beautiful that there are plenty of applications that you can use them for decorating on.

Here is the link to my ETSY SHOP LISTING so you check it out.  Let me know what you think of this design.  I would love to hear from you.  I also have lots of original artwork that can be seen on my website at JULIE TOWNSEND STUDIO.COM






Pink and Gray and Pink and Brown are two of my favorite color combinations.  I decided to go with the gray because I just love the contrast of the cold cement background and the cool pink with flowers cascading from the bottom.  I got all the images from pixabay.com and so I was free to use and modify them for this project.  I LOVE pixabay.com!




Here I changed to color of the lace from the Red and Black of the original image to shades of the pink found in the peony blossoms.  I'm still playing with fonts and trying to feel comfortable with which font looks and works best.  No more Comic Sans for me.  It has been quite a challenge to break that Comic Sans habit but with practice and determination I'm will be VICTORIOUS!



I downloaded this torn paper image for another graphics project but it was perfect for this sticker collection design.  Sometimes in life we get so drug down with the mundane grind that we forget to even look for the beauty that surrounds us.  We actually have to stop and seek out the beauty in things.  It isn't always easy at times and I felt this torn paper symbolizes the effort that we need to take.  Look for the beauty. 


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pinch Me Because I Must Be Dreaming



What if I told you that I have found a website that is still I  a week later blowing my mind.  To think that all of the Etsy tools I'm finding there on just the free version are amazing.  The site is called EtsyRank.com and if you have an Etsy Shop, you really need to check this site out!


For sometime I have been trying to find a tool to help me with keyword generation.  I find that in every application that I have my art listed at needs good keywords for SEO searching.  Sometimes it gets hard to be uniquely creative with keywords and you certainly want to drill into the mind of your target audience and use words and phrases they would be searching with.         



Here is an example of a few of the great features you will find on this site once it is linked to your Etsy Shop.  I love the Your Listings Section.  Originally, I found that I had 7 spelling issues.  Silly me, I had even incorrectly typed my own name on one listing.  I would never had realized that if it wasn’t for using this tool.






For this blog example, I did a search on “GOAT POSTER”.   EtsyRank.com gives you statistics about this key word you are considering so you can decide if that is the keyword that gives you the most visibility.  There is also suggestions for additional keywords.  I don't know about you, but when it comes to creating unique keywords for a listing I find myself scratching my head and not always sure that what I'm coming up with is creative enough.  So much of the success of my listing depends on this and now I feel I have the tools to make solid decisions about what words I should use.



It was only just yesterday that I realized that just a little further down on my screen I was actually being shown the listings of my top competitors for that key word category.  I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this.  I can really make informed marketing decisions about my product and find that niche to help my products stand out.  Remember what they say, "The riches are in the niches".


It seems I just can’t say enough about how useful I feel this tool will be for my Etsy Shop in the future.  It’s a REAL ETSY GAME CHANGER!

You want to check out my Etsy Shop or Website then please stop in and say hi.  Leave me a comment on this blog if you found this information helpful.

I would LOVE to hear from you because sometimes it gets mighty lonely here!












Thursday, May 17, 2018

Watermelons and the Farm-Sweet-Farm


I'm sitting here thinking about what to include in this blog post as I am eating the last piece of the first watermelon of the season.  A life time of summer memories come to mind and watermelon is always there, chilled and sliced ready to be enjoyed.  I just can't imagine summers without this amazing fruit.

Not to mention that red and green are my favorite decorating colors and that they are complimentary colors on the color wheel.  I like other melons well enough.  Cantaloupe is good and there are also crenshaw and honeydew but they really can't hold a candle to the watermelon for taste and aesthetics.  Watermelon is really such a beautiful fruit.

With all my thinking about watermelons, I couldn't help but want to create something fun to mark the occasion.  I decided yesterday to practice my graphic skills and create a planner sticker page that had watermelon as it's central theme. 

I should at this point, regress and talk about another happening this week that played a hand in this decision to design my own sticker sheet.  My really good friend, Victoria Thatcher (we have been friends more years than we both would like to confess) is a really gifted graphics artist.  She has been creating beautiful things with her computer for years.  In the past several years she has become somewhat of a SUPERSTAR among the "Planner Sticker People".  You know those organizers that have transcended from the plan leather binder that contains a calendar and several tabs to organize everything you do and has now become more of a scrapbook everything in your life including stickers to count how many glasses of water you drink and what day is laundry day.  I personally don't get it but I do love journals and calendars and lists and so I guess I just need to try to make them prettier.  She has a Facebook group @VictoriaThatcherPrintablesGroup that has over 9000 members and I can tell that they all love her and her work.

Anyway, I'm getting of subject here.  Victoria and I had an idea to do a collaboration sticker where she designed the sticker sheet using my original art.  She called Farm-Sweet-Farm and as with all her other sticker sheets she made it available as a free downloadable file to all of her thousands of sticker fans.   Here is the link to check out all her amazing sticker collections.  If you download something, let her know that you found out about her website via my blog.

Victoria Thatcher Printables


I found myself so inspired by what she had done that I decided I would give this sticker stuff a try.  I found some awesome images on Pixabay.com and just made a little collection of images that I wanted to use.   I think that is when I decided to call it "Watermelon Summer".  Unlike Victoria,  I decided that I would add it as a listing to my ETSY Shop but it is only $1.95 to download all 19 colorful stickers.  I sized them the same as the ones that Victoria designs and so they should fit in an EC Vertical planner and with a little graphic know how, you can size them to fit other planners I'm told.  I don't anything much about those fancy cutting machines, but I'm pretty sure that you can use them for this application too or you can just do what I do and grab the old fashion scissors.

Julie Townsend Studio Etsy Shop


















Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Here We Goat Again



I wonder if this has ever happened to anyone else....I was contacted by phone in March by a lady who was at the gallery looking at my artwork. She asked how much I would charge her to draw her a goat for her grandson who just "Loves goats". I said that I get $95 for an 8 x 10" original matted color pencil sketch. A few days later I got the privilege of meeting this lady because she came to my art reception. While there, she purchased an original bunny sketch "Watching Carrots Grow" for $95 from me. She again confirmed to me she wanted a goat piece for her 10 year old grandson's birthday in May. She wanted my style and left the actual composition completely up to me.
About two weeks later I received an email from her daughter telling me to go a head and start the goat piece. That was the beginning of what I now call "Goat Month" in my studio. As my normal practice, I will do several sketches just to get ready to start a painting and I had my eye on this reference photo that I had downloaded from Pixabay.com of three goats standing up on a barn stall. I could just see in my mind just how great that would look hanging as a new addition to my "I Dare You Not to Smile" collection of art.
Baby Goat on a Stump 
I drew this sweet little goat on a stump using the same illustrated style that I have developed when drawing with my color pencils. I hoped she liked it and so I sent her a picture. She emailed back that she loved it we made arrangements to meet when I was once again on gallery duty in Boulder city. She gave me a check and I handed her over the artwork. All is good, or so I thought.
I've been trying to grow a email list that I can periodically send out a studio newsletter of sorts to inform my follows what I'm doing and my current projects. My May Studio News featured an image and a paragraph or two about goats and my newest painting "The Nanny Squad".

A few days later I mentioned my painting that I had finished called the "Nanny Squad" and talked about how this month had been goat month in my studio.
To my surprise, it was just a few days later when I get a phone call from this same lady. She states that since her grandson was turning 10 she was afraid that the drawing I did for her might just be a bit childish and asked if she could have me paint a small goat painting with maybe just one of the goats in the big painting I had just finished. She also made it clear that she couldn't afford to buy a second piece so her desire was for me to just to exchange it for a new painting.
What would you do? I thought about and felt I was in no way under obligation to exchange the artwork. She was happy with the sketch until she saw my painting of a goat and then had buyers regret.
After some thought, I really had to remember that she already was a repeat collector, a resident of Boulder City and so she may very well purchase something else from in in the future. I agreed to start a new piece for her. I painted this little 11 x 14 white goat.
Today, I just decided that when I contacted her to show her to piece and to tell her I was finished with it that it couldn't hurt to ask for additional compensation. After all, a painting is more complicated and time consuming to do and I have already established a higher price point for paintings over sketches. To my great happiness they agreed to pay me $55 more dollars they said for my hard work. I'm happy, they are happy and hopefully the grandson will be VERY HAPPY TOO!
If you like my artwork, please consider checking out My Julie Townsend Studio Website or Etsy Shop. My prints and cards are reasonably priced and I ship the prints free on my Website inside the US.