Monday, January 4, 2021

Coffee with Julie- 1-4-21

2021 arrived and passed and today we are all resuming our daily lives after the holidays. My shop sales came to a screeching halt on December 9th it seems and since this is my first real year of sustained growth and revenue from my online sales I don't have previous history to judge if that is normal.  I think it makes sense that all the online Christmas season shipping had been done and so I took the time to begin working on my new designs for the upcoming year.  

I received my new iPad Pro 12.9" and my first ever Apple Pencil around that same time as my sales slowed down so I stayed very busy learning how to use this amazing new tool.  I downloaded the app Procreate (seems anyone serious about drawing digitally on the iPad chooses that drawing app) and I have been having a blast ever since.  

I'm currently working on my second "Farmhouse Whimsy Coloring Book" and hope to have it published and available on Amazon by the end of the month.  I'm subtitling this one "All Critters Big and Small" so I can include my mice, bunnies and bees in the book too.  This project has me super excited because I LOVE the passive income that I think self publishing on KDP (Amazon) will eventually bring. 

My first book wasn't published until November 1, 2020 and so for those 2 months of 2020 my sales break down as follows:

Farmhouse Whimsy Coloring Book- A Coloring Book to Make You Smile - 62 copies  COLORING BOOK ON AMAZON

2021 Farmhouse Weekly/Monthly Planner- 21 copies  2021 PLANNER ON AMAZON

Little Farmers on the Go- A Traveling Game Book- 13 copies TRAVEL GAME BOOK ON AMAZON


Branding your business is so important and something that I really want to do this year is wrap most of my orders in cute wrapping paper.  Eventually, I will design my own and have that printed for me but in the mean time, I decided that I would use rubber stamps and both brown (the rolls that painters use to tape off windows) and a whole case of white packaging newsprint paper that someone gave me.  The beauty of having all your designs in a farmhouse/country theme is that you can easily upcycle items around your house and it adds to the homemade primitive charm of the farmhouse motif.  

I ordered this "Tim Holtz Collection- Funny Farm" cling stamps and a few colors of ink pads to get started.  We found some wood to glue the stamps too and Wallaaaah! I have cute farm themed wrapping paper with minimal investment.  I can't wait to start wrapping all my 2021 sales with them.

I will be sharing more about this in detail on my next VLOG- YOU HEARD ME CORRECTLY!  I have started my own YouTube Channel where I show off my new artwork or studio tips.  This will be expanding in 2021 and I'm super excited about growing this new social media connection.  Here is the link to my channel so please consider subscribing!  Julie Townsend Studio - YOUTUBE









Monday, December 28, 2020

Coffee with Julie- Just CHILLIN with my iPad

 


Even though it has been pretty chilly in my studio these past few weeks, I've been working on some new spring designs for my shop. I can't think of any better subject to use than a "Herd" of adorable bunnies. They sure can wreak havoc on your garden but here on this sticker or note card they are as cute as can be.


In reality, there wouldn't be any flowers left at all but since I'm the artist and I create my own reality, little spring flowers and butterflies abound.

The sweet little bunny at the bottom is named Flo and she will be making more studio appearances in the future. Of this fact, I am certain. She is just too cute not to have her become a studio regular.

I decided to carry on the flower pot theme this week with my next studio visitors, two sweet little kittens. The little gray kitten at the end is named Bella and she also is going to become a studio regular. So watch out for Bella, she has little streak of mischievousness in her.

I had a blast drawing this pair of cute kittens playing hide and seek in the flower pots. I was trying to think of something funny to say about them when I saw the play on words of "CATcus" I just had to make some changes by adding a cactus to my end flower pot and now I chuckle every time I think about the title. 

Bella wasn't ready to leave it seems, because yesterday she showed up hiding in this knitted pink mitten looking as cute as ever.  Before I was finished with the composition I decided to draw a safety pinned note that read, "Don't forget your mittens.  Love Mama" and a soft pink and gray watercolor background. Now I think it is PURRFECT!

I think all these designs have turned out so adorable and is perfect for all the cat and bunny lovers on your list. Did I mention that I created all of these images using the app Procreate on my new iPad Pro?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  I've had my new iPad for about 3 weeks and I'm just having so much fun with it.  We may find ourselves still stuck at home for much of 2021 but I'm going to have some fun doing it!


These three designs are available in cards, prints, stickers and magnets over on my Etsy Shop

Have a purrfect day!





Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Coffee with Julie- 12/8/20

 


Good morning!  I'm loving my coffee this morning and am looking forward to my day.  I have the privilege of hanging with my babies and it has been a week since I saw them last (last week I was a bit under the weather if you recall).  So I am up bright and early and feeling good.

I'm so excited about painting again and I love how my first ever saw blade turned out.  These blades were given to me and have been lying around my studio for several years.  I'm determined to may 2021 a year FULL of art and that means using the resources around me rather than purchasing more canvases.  I really like how it turned out and so I wanted to share it with you.

A few months ago I decided I was going to paint these two old saw blades and so I got the idea to have my husband weld some old horseshoes on them that we had lying around.  It really helps with handling them and I think it will make a perfect way to hang the finished art on the wall.  

First thing we did was to clean them up really well.  My husband used the pressure washer on them to get rid of all the dirt or oils on the surface.  Once they had dried I applied 2 coats of Miniwax Indoor/Outdoor Helmsman Spar Urethane- Clear Satin to both sides.  Here is the link for that product on Amazon.  For the cowbell we use a different process to prepare them and I might blog about that whole process another day.  Here is the link on Amazon:  Helmsman Spar Urethane

I had to fashion a safe way to hold these blades to my easel.  I have a real fear of them falling off and landing on my foot (I don't own any steel toed boots) so I have them hanging on the screws and then I loop the bunge cord over them to hold them in place when I'm not painting on them.  In this photo you are seeing the blades with the first coat of acrylic paint applied.  I just made them a very dark color because I've decided that I am going to paint a goat on the one and there will be a dark barn in the background.  The blades are naturally very dark so this just even it all out and gave me a nice solid colored surface to begin with.

Now I didn't take pictures as I started but I used a white pastel pencil to light sketch in my basic composition.  It doesn't have to be prefect because I dial it all in as I'm painting.  That is the beauty of painting in acrylics and oils.  You can fix anything.


It takes a number of layers to get your colors vibrant when painting on metal but I' couldn't be happier with the final piece.  This cute little goat is named Rosemary and she is one of the goats raised by Katie  at Galloping Gertie's Goatery.  Katie takes the best pictures of her goats and I'm so grateful that she gives me permission to use them as reference photos in my work.  If I paint or draw a goat they are more than likely from Galloping Gerties.

This piece is looking for a new forever home but first I have photograph it with the good camera, spray a fixative coat on it and then give it a couple coats of a clear glossy varnish to seal up it up and help prevent fading or scratching.  When all that is done I will be adding this piece to my Etsy Shop if I haven't sold it before that. Just send me a message if you would like to own this piece.  

Now to finish the 2nd saw blade and that cowbell this week.  We also collected a number of old cans while camping over Thanksgiving.  It will be fun to see what I can paint on these.  

Be sure and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and now I'm starting a vlog on YouTube. (just search JULIE TOWNSEND STUDIO)    










Saturday, December 5, 2020

Morning Coffee with Julie - December 5th, 2020


I've been a little under the weather this week with either a cold or allergies (not sure which) but during this COVID pandemic (I call it a PANDAMNIC) a runny nose might as well be an admission to having the bubonic plague.  Oh well, I know I'm on the mend because I didn't even use one tissue yesterday.  That is a good sign!





I've been trying to stay busy during my runny nose banishment.  Lucky for me, I received my brand new iPad Pro 12.9 inch with a Apple Pencil.  I spent most of yesterday playing around in Procreate and managed to create a color page for my newest coloring book and this little goat drawing.  I think he turned out really cute but BOY do I have a lot to learn!  








Another really exciting thing that happened yesterday was that I received my Amazon order for my 2021 weekly/monthly planner in the mail.  This is the first time I have actually seen a printed version of it and I couldn't be more thrilled with it.  It really turned out nice and I can't wait for 2021 to begin using it. I created these Pinterest pins this morning to promote it on my board.

Here is the link on Amazon if you want to check it out:  MY AWESOME 2021 PLANNER



When I worked in the real world as the Business Administrator for a Christian school and church here in town, I was always thankful for all the new beginnings I had.  There was the start of each new school year, the new fiscal year and the new calendar year.  Each new beginning had it's unique requirements and demands for the business office but I always looked forward to the "CLEAN SLATE" feeling.  

Now I have really only the new year to celebrate the new beginnings but I look forward to it with the same excitement.  Maybe even more now that I am a small business owner.  I've been blessed with steady and growing art sales this past year and my plan for 2021 is to continue to stay focused on my art and helping other artists achieve success.  

A really important tool as a small business owner is your spreadsheets.  I know, I'M SUCH A NUMBERS GEEK!  I think it was the end of October when I created my 2021 Income/Expense Spreadsheet.  I try to track each revenue separately so I know how much I made in gross sales of cards, stickers or original art. I also track my sales for galleries, Facebook, Etsy Shop and other revenue sources.  I have a worksheet tab for each month and that all rolls into a year to date worksheet.  My spreadsheet is on Google Sheets and I would be happy to send you a blank copy of my spreadsheet if you are wanting to see how I have it set up.

Stay safe, warm and blessed

Julie

 






 

Monday, November 9, 2020

There is DUST on my PAINTBRUSHES

 I have been so busy these past few weeks, that I haven't picked up a paintbrush or even a colored pencil.  Now don't be concerned that I may be giving up on my artwork!  It's far from it.  Rather, I have been working on a couple of new projects that I'm really excited about and that are dear to my heart.  The learning curve has been pretty steep but I feel as if I have climbed to the summit and now can see the possibilities on the other side.

What am I speaking of you ask?  Well, I will tell you.  I have been learning all about low content self publishing using KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) on Amazon.   I just published my first coloring book and it went live on Nov 1st.  "The Farmhouse Whimsy Coloring Book" contains 35 line drawings of my original artworks that you can color for yourself.  Many of the "Wash Tub" series are included in the book and priced at only $8.99, I think this coloring book will make a great gift option for the coming holiday season. Well that is at least my hope and that I receive passive income from here on out with continued book sales.   I'm already planning to create more coloring books in the coming year.

 My second project may not be as popular but I'm excited.  I'm almost ready to push the button to publish my first desk planner for 2021.  It's a large 8.5 x 11 inch paperback (just like the coloring book) and has both a monthly and weekly calendar and 142 pages filled with my artwork, digital designs, scriptures, prayer journal and a big "TODO" list page for each week.  I designed it with my needs in mind but I'm hoping a few others will also find that same appeal.  Because it had to be color print, I had to set my Amazon retail price at $21.99.  

Each of the 12 monthly pages has a full size image of the Wash Tub drawings that appears on my 2021 wall calendar that is available on my Etsy Shop.  The weekly calendar has also a combination of my original artwork and adorable clipart that I have arranged.  The thing that I am excited about is that each week there is included on the layout a large "for this week" page that allows you to prioritize your goals and consider your blessings and victories.  I'm a list girl and I have not found a planner that gives me the ability to organize my week like this one does.  




If my copy of this planner is the only one that sells, I think I will be okay with that.  I felt with the craziness of this past week and the uncertainty I feel about the coming year, along with the continued economic fall out caused by COVID, a happy planner full of funny farm animals and scriptures was exactly what I need to make it through.  Besides I learned a lot and at my age that is SOMETHING!

To find both of these books (hopefully the planner will go live on Amazon by tomorrow) you just search "JULIE TOWNSEND STUDIO".  





 












Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Thanks a HOLE PUNCH

I have shared before that one of the little "BRANDING" touches that I use when packaging up my art sales is what I call my "FARM CONFETTI".  I have invested in a couple of paper punches and my favorites are of a cow, a pig and a small heart.  Farm animal paper punches are hard to find and I would LOVE to add a Goat and a Chicken paper punches to my little collection.  You would think these companies would realize how popular farm animals are and get on the "HAY WAGON" and make more designs.

The pig punch is my favorite but, while the PUNCH BUNCH paper punch plunks out pink pigs proficiently (I dare you to say that fast 10 times) it is rather stiff and puts a real strain on the old carpal tunnel.   

On the Punch Bunch website,  they actually sell a lever device that they call their POWER PUNCH for a whopping $60 bucks.  I love my pink pig paper confetti but not that much!

After showing my husband the picture of the "Power Punch", he decides that the thing for him to do is to make me one from all his scrapes of things he has lying around in his garage.  So while it might not be as "PRETTY" as the one selling on the Punch Bunch website, this device works just as well.  

I can now PUNCH PINK PIGS to my hearts content.  I just have to say that my husband is so supportive of my artwork that I just had to do some BRAD BRAGGING today.  THANKS A HOLE PUNCH HONEY!














Monday, October 12, 2020

Coloring Anyone?

 Who likes to use coloring books?


I've decided that I'm going to work on publishing a coloring book that will contain primarily my "Wash Tub" series along with other farm animal related drawings that I have done. I'm kind of excited and nervous about this project but I have over 32 pages designed and now I just need to scan them and make edits to each page. Then I have to work on designing the front and back cover along with the first few inside pages. This is going to keep me pretty busy. I would LOVE to have this book ready to sell on my Etsy Shop by Christmas but we shall see about that.


I think I also want to include small thumbnails of my completed artwork so that there is a coloring suggestion for how the finished page could look. My thoughts here are that while the images are simple enough for children to use, that with proper attention to shading and techniques, these drawings can be enjoyed by adults. Does that make sense?

The BIG learning curve will come to play when I work on getting the book published. I'm going to research the KDP self publishing arm of Amazon. I was listing this week to "Coffee with Ronnie" of Ronnie Walter Biz Coach for Creatives this week and that was one of her topics. It was like she was talking straight to me. I have tons of drawings already so for me it is really a matter of getting them edited and organized. I'm hoping she decides to offer a small Zoom class just to help those interested in see their book published. I've already sent her a message to add me to her list.

Anyone already have experience with publishing a coloring book? I'm sure this will be a blogging topic of mine for quite sometime. I would LOVE to hear your opinions and suggestions.