Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It's the Little Things that Add Up

Handwritten thank you note...check,  I appreciate you free greeting card gift....check, lots of protective bubble wrap and tissue paper...check.  I guess I have everything ready to pack up this little sweet honeybee and ship him off to his new home in Pampas, Texas.

I think the little details are important and you want to create an excitement when that cowbell box arrives.  This week I designed a 2 x 4 inch sticker that I can use to decorate my cowbell shipping boxes with.  It says "Spreading Joy Around the World One Cowbell at a Time".  That is perfect and you can see by this image it really stands out on that box.

When I shipped off my first set of 4 cowbells early last week, I scrounged around the house and found some boxes that I had stuck back.  One of the bells was a bit wider and so I actually emptied a case of K-Cups to find a box that it would fit in nicely. That is when I immediately logged onto Amazon and ordered a set of 25 shipping boxes that were large enough to handle shipping of 2 bells but yet small enough that the costs were kept reasonable.

My tips for you on shipping artwork- 1. invest in a postage scale.  I paid $20 for that one on Amazon  and it work GREAT!  2.  Create and account with Pirateship.com.  They allow you to purchase postage and print out the labels at a commercial rate that is lower than if you went into the post office yourself.  They a have been great so far. 

On Sunday, I was shocked when shopping at Sam's Club to see this set of 10 small white shipping boxes that measured 6 x 6 x 6 and cost only $4.98 each.    If I put the 7" cowbell in the box diagonally it fits very nicely.  I bought 2 sets of these boxes so now I'm flush for boxes.

Yesterday was the first bell order I filled using the new box and while the bell fit great, I realized that my usual free gift to show my appreciation didn't.  I usually pick out a greeting card that is similar to the artwork that they purchasing.  In this case they purchased a bee cowbell and so I wanted to send her my new honey bee greeting card.  The only hitch is that they are larger than 6 inches.  I put the card in the box but I'm afraid that when it arrives it will be bent.

Today, I decided the thing to do was to give a way a smaller note card.  Still a nice gesture and I know it will arrive unscathed.  Here is the 4 designs I came up with and I think they are very cute.

So as you can tell, my focus this week has been on painting, marketing, selling cowbells and shipping out cowbells. It has been so exciting.  I've made some great connections and added a few new friends to my little art group.  I'm blessed and humbled by how well these bells have been received.

So you might ask, "How do I purchase a cowbell?"  Well first, I would suggest that you like my Facebook Art Page @JulieTownsendStudio.  It is there that I post all my new work first.  Second, you might want to join my studio email list.  I periodically host drawings and giveaways and I'm pretty sure as we enter into fall, I will be giving a way a cowbell or two.  Just send me a message with your name and email address.  Third, and this is for those ready to give a cowbell a good home.  Message me with your zip code and I will give you an estimate of the shipping costs and with an email address I can send you an invoice that included the $60 cowbell purchase price and the cost of shipping and handling.  That isn't so hard.  The hard part comes in deciding which bell to buy.  I have one collector in Montana that has purchased 12 bells.

Let me leave you with the 2 newest bell designs.  I actually sold the Rooster bell today but I still wanted you to see it because I will be painting some more.  Each picture is showing the front and back off the bell.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

More Cowbells

It has been an incredible week here in my studio.  Last Sunday I posted a picture of 4 new cowbells that I had painted with my new design (I paint around the whole bell) and I've been talking about cowbells ever since.  I had the blessing of shipping out 6 bells to new homes in just the past few days.  They literally sell as soon as I paint them.  I've made a number of new cowbell friends and have seen my followers on Instagram and my Facebook Page @JulieTownsendStudio jump.

My new Cowbell motto:  "Spreading Joy Across the World One Cowbell at a Time".  I even created a cute sticker to put on the outside of each Cowbell box as I ship them out.  Here is a picture of the last 2 bells I sent off on Thursday.

The great thing about these bells is that they are all hand painted and each bell is completely unique. (Mostly because I'm a human and not a machine!)

Front view of the new bells
Honestly, it is so hot outside right now that I have no other choice (like that isn't where I would be anyway) but to hold up in my studio.  This result of this heatwave is a lot of painting going on and so I thought I would just quickly share the newest cowbell images that I accomplished in just the past few days.

Rear view of the new bells
If you like these bells and would like to discuss purchasing one of you own, you can message me and we can chat about it.  I am asking $60 plus shipping and handling costs.  I would suggest that you consider following me on Instagram or on my Art Facebook Page @JulieTownsendStudio because that is where I post all my newest work first.   

Here is the front and rear view of the last bell I painted yesterday featuring a mouse with a cupcake.  I'm having so much fun painting these little mice with a BIG sweet tooth, that I decided I had to paint a canvas piece. (10 x 20 with Acrylic)  You can see my work in progress standing up there behind the bell.  I've already blocked in 2 mice and have a 3rd one sketched it.  It should prove to be a really fun piece when I am done.  Well at least that is the plan. 

Have a blessed rest of your day and remember what we all need, and I quote Christopher Walken here is "MORE COWBELL!"


Thursday, July 26, 2018

I Have a Fever- A Cowbell Fever!

This week here at JULIE TOWNSEND STUDIO has been absolutely AMAZING!  I am just stunned at the response I have received in the past few days on my newest cowbell designs and they have been flying out of the studio as fast as I can paint them.  Not only have I sold 6 bells in the last 3 days, I have increased my Facebook page audience, my Instagram followers and added a number of new email addresses to my studio email list.

From a marketing standpoint there is no way to access a value to this benefit.  Yes, these cowbells are helping me get my name out there as an artist and while I would rather be painting and selling canvas art, I guess I will take sales in any form I can get them.  I just need to embrace that fact that these little 7" bells are my "BREAD AND BUTTER".  Maybe that will change down the road, but for now I just need to count my COWBELL BLESSINGS!

What is exciting to me about this new design is that I actually have a much larger painting surface and that allows me to be much more creative.  Just look how beautiful these bells look.  The white background just makes the design "pop"!

This new found cowbell creativeness has taken a silly direction with my last 2 bells I've painted.  As you can see these little mice have quite the sweet tooth.  I still catch myself smiling at them each time I look at them.  Both have found new homes and will be sent out tomorrow to Florida and Kentucky.  I'm just spreading joy around the world, one cowbell at a time.

If you like my artwork then you might consider liking my Facebook Art Page or following me on Instagram @JulieTownsendStudio.  I post all my newest work there first.  I also have a studio email list that I periodically run drawings and offer giveaways through that you are welcome to sign up for.  I would just need you to message me your name and email address.

Front view of my "SWEET TOOTH" bells- Donuts with Sprinkles & Corn Candy
Back view of my "Sweet Tooth" bells

Friday, July 20, 2018

July Freebie Offer

It is hot and humid here in Southern Nevada so I've decided it is time to have some fun.  I'm going to start having monthly Freebies and Giveaways for my Blog readers.  You know something just to help me pass the time indoors.  So tonight I'm starting a July Blog Post Drawing Giveaway.

Here is all you need to enter the drawing to receive this cute 5 x 7 inch matted print of "You Had Me At Cheese."  

1.  Shipping is free as long as you are in the good ole USA.  Sorry but I can't afford international postage.
2.  To enter the drawing all you have to do is to leave a comment below and be sure to include the name of your favorite cheese.
3.   I will reply to your comment if you are the winner and then you will need to email me your mailing address information.
4.  Drawing ends 10:00 PM (PST) on Monday, July 23rd

If you have questions, please feel free to email me at JTownsendStudios@gmail.com.  If you like my art, than follow me @JulieTownsendStudio on Facebook or Instagram or stop in and check out my ETSY SHOP or my WEBSITE 
Print will be matted to frame in a standard 5 x 7 frame

Busy as a Bee

It started last Friday.  I spent a number of blessed hours in the studio listening to uplifting worship music and a paintbrush in my hand. I managed to paint several cowbells, a funny cow on a 12 x 12 canvas and 2 cute Holsteins on a small 6 x 6 canvas.

I’ve tried to keep up the momentum each day and while I haven’t produced as many pieces as day one, I have steadily added to my collection of new works.  Yesterday, I painted a number of small 4 x 4 inch canvases with cute little bees on them.  I just had to share them.  I love the sepia background that is so easy to create but gives it such a richness.

Chips Ahoy
Cheese Crackers Anyone?
The rest of the week has seen me finish a sweet bunny peaking out of a hole, three small mouse paintings and a brand new cowbell design that I just love.  Besides painting, I have also completed 3 watercolor/pen and ink sketches that features some adorable mice.  All in all I have been pleased with the amount of work I have turned out this week.  I find myself looking forward to studio time.
I See You

My mind is now busy considering what to paint next   I’m certain I will be blogging more about that in the future, but in the mean time...I’m heading back to the studio!

You can find more of my work on my Website or on my Etsy Shop

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Let's Talk About Snowmen When it is 110 Outside

It's like Christmas in July....

I'm just a little late in getting this news out but with good news I think it is always better late than never.  

I am so happy to announce that my painting, "First Snowman" won both the visitor choice award at the Boulder City Art Gallery for two months in a row.  (March and April 2018)  If that isn't exciting news enough, I  find out that this piece has now been selected to be the featured artwork for all the Boulder City Winterfest marketing materials. This piece is very special to me as it is actually a painting of myself and my brother. Here is the memory I shared with the Winterfest committee,
"This piece was inspired by a reference photo that was taken of my brother and I after we finished building, what seemed to me at the time the best snowman ever. We were standing in front of my grandmother's house in Swedeborg, Missouri. I think I might be 5 here and my brother 4.

I clearly remember my sweet grandmother out there helping us put together what is very likely my first attempt at sculpture. I even remember getting the scarf and hat from my grandmother's closet and then going through her button jar to find the perfect buttons to form the eyes and mouth for this jolly old fellow. A photo captured the moment but it was my grandmother that made that moment a sweet memory."

Thursday, July 12, 2018

My Cheesy Cards and E-Commerce

Wow...Where has this week gone?  It is THURSDAY already!   That means the weekend is almost here.  When I look back on this week I feel I’ve been both productive and creative and that makes me feel good.  While I didn’t spend a ton of time in the studio creating new original art, I have worked hard on coming up with some new designs that I have uploaded online to RedBubble.com and my new print on demand love, Cafe Press.  I've created a number of new Etsy Shop listings and updated my EBay site. 

RedBubble.com logo
Yesterday, I just happened to log in to Cafe Press (I guess almost 2 years ago I created an account and uploaded 4 images but I had forgotten) and I was completely amazed to learn that I had sales and I have a whole $10.18 in my Cafe Press account.  What would happen if I uploaded my really cute designs?  So, I think I will give this site a chance also.  I love how Cafe Press automatically matches your image to their products.  RedBubble is a bit more time consuming to add a new images because you have to manually adjust your images to their products.  I can spend up to 15 minutes fixing all the shirts, cups, clocks and duvet covers to make my image look good.  With Cafe Press you just have to add a title, description and keywords and that is it.  Super easy!  So let that Cafe Press royalty checks start rolling in. 

One other difference between the two print on demand sites is that RedBubble pays you the royalties right away even if it is only pennies, while CafePress pays out when you reach a certain dollar level of royalties.  The least amount you can select is $25 but as you can see I am almost half way there now.

Amazon.com logo
Also, as of yesterday I began uploading coffee mug designs to my new seller account on Amazon.com.  Now that is a bit more complicated.  I had to even buy 1000 UPC codes on EBay to actually get my first listing to upload.  I’m not sure they are actually sellable yet.  As of my last check last night the 5 cups were still showing unavailable.  Today, I will try to figure that out.  Maybe it seems to you I am spreading myself a bit thin over all these sites, but I am determined that by 2019 I will start making a regular passive income from my art designs and I just don’t think you can expect that without spreading your work around to more than one major internet commerce site.  

Simple Drawing
So let me talk about my newest design for a moment.   I had so much fun coming up with this fun piece.  The design goes from an idea in my head (I know scary right?)  to a simple pencil drawing in my sketchbook.  Here is the scan I did from the sketch.  So far I have outlined the drawing in a fine pen line but with my next drawing I’m just going to try it with pencil or lighten the lines in Photoshop.

Original Artwork with Color
After I have the image scanned, I print it out on art paper.  In this case, I used watercolor paper but sometimes I like to use my Strathmore Bristol paper if the medium is going to be color pencil or pen and ink.  I then add the color and all the pen and ink detail.  At this point, I have created an orginal artwork that I can matte and sell but I’m not done.  The really fun part is yet to come.  I return the piece to the scanner and scan my image again.  This gives me the ability to print our prints to sell or to use to create greeting cards and magnets to sell at festivals and galleries.

The scanned image is valuable because I can then pull it back into Photoshop and use elements of it to create brand new digital compositions.  I can add text to create funny posters and cards.  Really the sky is the limit.  This little mouse has all kinds of future potential.

Here is some of the examples of designs I created using this little mouse in a hole idea and the my Etsy Shop link that will take you to some of the products.

Julie Townsend Studio-Etsy Shop

Birthday Card 1
Birthday Card 2
Mockup I created of the poster
8 x 10 poster on my Etsy Shop
Then I decided to use some royalty free digital images to have some fun with the same mouse and cheese design.  I created this image for a "CHEESY MUG" and then even added a "CHEESY GIFT" variation for be printed on other types of merchandise.  I think it is eye catching and humorous and I'm hoping to have many sales in the future from it.  Only time will tell and I will keep you all informed as to this journey I am on and the lessons I am learning.  Cheesy Mug Listing on Etsy

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The JIG is UP for this Scammer

I was contacted by one Anthonio Jack via my art website this morning and immediately I was skeptical of him mostly because there just wasn't something right about his use of the English language.  His words just didn't seem to flow smoothly.  He also kept calling my art a "piece" of work when you would normally refer to a body of work as plural and not singular. 

A quick Google search of "Anthonio Jack"  was all it took for me to be informed.

This message was WORD for WORD the message I received.  You would think he would be smart enough to realize he needs to change it up from time to time but I guess scammers aren't really smart to begin with.  Anyway, I didn't waste a moment on this junk and told him that the "Jig was Up! and to go crawl back under the rock he came from." 

Here is one warning of many I found

Beware Of Anthonio Jack

I got email through the website and research revealed it's a scammer. Heads up.

Anthonio Jack


My name is Anthonio Jack from Oregon.. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes your piece of work, I'm also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too,You are doing a great job. I would like to receive further information about your piece of work and what inspires you.. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales..
Thanks and best regards.. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fontology 101

Today makes 2 months exactly since I became painfully aware of the common to everyone in the human race except for me, that the COMIC SANS font was the last font on the planet you wanted to use if you want to be taken seriously.  This awareness set me on my current journey to find the fonts I really liked and then to have an artistic eye on just how to combine them to catch the attention of my audience.  The definition of Typography is, "the style and appearance of printed matter.  *the art or procedure of arranging type or processing data and printing from it."

How appropriate to actually use the work ART of ARRANGING TYPE.  Art is exactly what it is.  Today I thought I would share 5 of my favorite font discoveries so far.  I have used the all familiar "THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG" sentence to demonstrate what each look like at 14 pt and in BOLD.   The first line of course is the forbidden comic sans font which I have taken the liberty of striking through. 

Here is a poster I designed this week to accompany my little chihuahua watercolor/pen and ink sketch.  I decided to use a combination of two fonts, "Love Ya Like a Sister" by Kimberly Geswein and "Dancing Script".  Both can be found with open licenses on the Google Fonts site.  I included the links for you. 

You can find this particular poster as a downloadable file on my Etsy Shop along with lots of other examples of my artwork that is available there.  You can also see more of my fine art on my website at Julie Townsend Studio.  Stop in and take a look around, drop me a comment or following me on Instagram or Facebook @JulieTownsendStudio.  All of these will make me very happy!

Have a great weekend and try to stay cool!

And to close with a few comic sans jokes


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

I can spell CHIHUAHUA now!

My Original Watercolor/Pen and Ink Sketch turned into a Poster

I always struggled with spelling the word Chihuahua but not any more.  I guess all it takes is for me to create a piece of artwork and then type the word about a bazillion times as I'm coming up with all the keywords and social marketing posts.  I think I've got this word figured out finally and that is probably a really good thing since I actually own a chihuahua named Ginger.

My newest Etsy Shop listing is of this in adorable Chihuahua dog poster that is completely downloadable and printable.  This gives you the ability to instantly print it out as many times as you would like for the one low price of $5.25.  You can even use the image to print out your own greeting cards.  As long as you are using the file for your personal use only and  not selling the image I'm good with you using the file over and over. I'm just thrilled that you like my work.
Julie Townsend Studio on Etsy

I have also listed this image on my Redbubble.com site.  The think that I love about Redbubble is that they print your art out on all types of merchandise and pay you your royalties right away.  That is important as artist.   

 Julie Townsend Studio on RedBubble.com

T-Shirt on Redbubble
IPhone case with my artwork on RedBubble.com