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.


So Many Choices but FAILURE'S NOT an Option

  


FAT, CHUNKY, SCRIPT, HANDWRITTEN, SKINNY, TALL, CHALKBOARD, BLOCK, BUBBLE, OUTLINE, FORMAL, CHILDLIKE, WHIMSY....?????

Following the humiliation of my recent font failure, (You can read all about it on my previous blog post from this week) I’ve decided to step up my font game. As a former COMIC SANS user (Sounds like I’m part of some 12-step program) I’m determined to step out of the 80’s and join 2018.

While researching fonts today I realized that I really like font artist Kimberly Geswein. I have about 4 or 5 of her font creations on my favorite list. That is when I discovered her very awesome website. Check out her “Font Finder” tool.



In my creative journal, in my font section, I already had KGSUMMERSUNSHINE font downloaded to my computer but now I find that I’ve added KG CALL ME MAYBE, KG SKINNY LOVE and KG SKINNY LATTE to my list of potential favorite fonts.  I love the tall, skinny all cap fonts and my plan is to make a short list of my go to fonts.

I’m ready to retire COMIC SANS and step into the light!

I would love to hear what your favorite fonts are to use and the projects you use them for.  What is a good font to use for designing printed banners for readability and appeal?  What about website banners and even greeting cards?  I'm sure it is all personal taste but do you have a few favorites that you always gravitate to?  I would love to hear from you.  In the meantime, I will keep painting, designing marketing materials and LEARNING a lot more about about fonts.

Check out my website....  where COMIC SANS is allowed until I can find the perfect font.



  

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Taken to the Graphics Wood Shed

I've been doing very limited graphic designs for a while now and all for my personal benefit.  I'm not a professional graphic designer and never plan to be.  I taught myself a little Photoshop in July and I have been non-stop designing marketing materials for myself ever since.  I am proud of that fact.

Here are just a few of the examples of designs I created.  My art show marketing postcards, my banner and this adorable marketing image to share on my social media accounts.  All turned out just the way I wanted them to. I wanted them to be both colorful and humorous. I think they are just a perfect fit for my show called "I Dare You Not to Smile".

The past 9 months has been amazing since I am pretty much able to create so many things.  Photoshop has taken my artwork to a whole new level  Now let me remind you, that I have had no formal training in either art or graphics so everything you see here is created from basically my gut feelings and my creative eye.  Both have betrayed me!


My Grandson and his Tyco Car filled with artwork
Not only have I created my own monthly studio newsletter and marketing cards, I am always busy designing things for the Art House LV Gallery here in Las Vegas.  I am one of two volunteer directors at the gallery so you can just imagine how many hats I must wear.

One of my favorite marketing themes as of late, is to use images of members of my family and add them into different funny settings that then advertise the gallery.  Here are just a few of social media marketing images I created for the Art House LV Gallery.
A chick sketch of mine added to a shopping cart full of art

My beautiful niece added to another funny marketing message.



I have also published several newsletters in the past 9 months to promote the gallery.  Here you can see the front and back pages of my most current newsletter.  I love the bright colors and how I have the daisy wrapping between the two pages.  I was so pleased at how this turned out....That is until just the other night when I was chatting with one of the younger gallery photographers and to my complete shock and dismay he said to me, "I have hesitated to tell you this, but since we are discussing the newsletter, I just thought you should know that no one in the graphics field uses COMIC SANS as a font anymore. It works for what you are doing but really shouldn't be on the gallery website or marketing materials."

At that moment, I felt as if my whole world had changed.  I mean COMIC SANS has been my standard go to font for everything.  I even have it set up as my default font for my emails.  How could I not know this?  I'm just now learning that it is right up there with the font Papyrus. Yes, I did watch the SNL skit regarding the Papyrus font being used on Avatar.  I think the humor was lost on me at that moment.

I came home from the gallery and in a moment of weakness I posted my misery for all my Facebook Friends to read.  That is when I received my enlightening to the errors of my ways.  These friends held nothing back.

If you think you might like my art, please check out my website gallery and please don't tell me if it is also in COMIC SANS font because I haven't checked there yet. 





FACEBOOK DISCUSSION THE OTHER NIGHT REGARDING COMIC SANS FONT:

ME:  I'm just a bit upset right now. I was just informed that graphically speaking, Comic Sans as a font is just a bad choice. That is like my go to font. Now I have to rethink everything.
LG: It's art, art is at the discernment of the viewer. That being said art may be judged by the viewer but that judgment shouldn't be pressed on others.

VT: This applies to everything else in the except comic sans.
           ST: Did they recommend a different one? lol!

Manage

ME: Not really...um just left in the void of graphic space. It's lonely out there. Lol

Manage
LB: The most likely reason you were told so is that it’s one of the first fonts use, and overused in books & other graphic design platforms. But who care? It works great with what you’ve been doing.

Manage


VT: Literally any other 100k fonts would be better.

ST:  All this time everyone stayed quiet! 😂😂😂😂



VT: The thing with comic sans, in my opinion, is that when we started doing graphics in the late 80's, you had a choice of about 3 fonts. Comic sans was the "coolest" one. So to still be using it gives the illusion of not progressing in the last 30 years.



VT: Jules, do you use dafont? Lots of fun choices. Try "eponymous" or "century gothic"

ME:  VT,  I have downloaded a few fonts from there but it is overwhelming. Rest assured I will be getting out of the 80's now. This all steamed from a conversation I had with XXXXX last night about the website. I've only been doing graphics for the past 9 months or so and I just had no idea. Well I have been EDGUMACATED now!

LG:  Again opinions lol


KA:  Agree LG Some people are still hippies!!! BE YOURSELF. Font snobs!