Category Archives: Commissioned Work

“Spiritwoman – Airwoman Book Two” Released with Townsend Original Cover

The second novel in Zara Quentin's YA fantasy Airwoman Series, "Spiritwoman," cover designed and illustrated by Adam Maxwell Townsend
The second novel in Zara Quentin’s YA fantasy Airwoman Series, “Spiritwoman,” cover designed and illustrated by Adam Maxwell Townsend

Australian young adult fantasy author Zara Quentin and I have been partnering on her “Airwoman” trilogy for a few years now. Quentin has released the second installment, “Spiritwoman,” with another Townsend original cover illustration and design. The flyleaf:

A missing dragon. A friend in mortal danger. A young woman’s quest to save them both…

Spirit Woman is the second book in the Airwoman series. If you like being immersed in captivating worlds, compelling characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love the latest in Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventures.

Learn more about Zara Quentin here.

Can’t wait to read the third!

Client testimonials from around the globe…

It’s always good to hear nice things about yourself. It’s even better for prospective clients to hear about the kind of quality product and work ethic you bring to the table.

That’s why I’ve collected some client testimonials below. If this post leaves you scrambling for the phone to hire me, my number is 740-632-3819, or contact me at

Priscilla Gonzalez, Orange County theatre director/producer:

Adam Townsend is by far the most talented graphic illustrator I have worked with in my experience working in various production companies in Orange County.  

I, along with production companies that are supported by Townsend’s work, receive nothing but the best developed marketing materials/artwork that we are proud to display/distribute.

As artists ourselves, we value bringing creativity and thought provoking messages to our audiences.  Adam plays an important role in providing a strong first impression to our audiences through the marketing materials he develops and creates for us.

Adam’s illustrations are full of creative ideas with aesthetically pleasing detail that will certainly make you look twice.  His attention to a director’s intention and objective is always interpreted clearly and focused when represented in his work.  His use of color, inspirational techniques and illustration style pave the way for a visual language that cannot be communicated through words.

Jen Blanchard, Author and Writing Coach, New York State:

Adam is my go-to cover designer. His illustrations make my books feel like works of art. I’m so proud that I get to share his talent with the world through my–and now my client’s–books.

Zara Quentin, YA Fantasy Author, Australia:

Adam designed the cover of my novel, Airwoman. He was a pleasure to work with, came up with a range of design ideas and worked with me to narrow it down and modify until we had exactly what I wanted. The end result is absolutely beautiful- I love it. I would certainly work with Adam again next time.

“Airwoman” Cover Illustration/Design and Marketing Images

"Airwoman," Book cover and marketing images by Adam Townsend. Fantasy novel by Zara Quentin.
“Airwoman,” Book cover and marketing images by Adam Townsend. Fantasy novel by Zara Quentin.

I just finished an illustration/cover design assignment this week for Australian fantasy author Zara Quentin‘s debut novel “Airwoman.”

I got to read it early as her illustrator, and it was a super fun read! This will be the first in a series, so I’m already excited for the next installment.

To create this image, I used a combination of traditional and digital media. I used a public domain sunset photo and took the mountains from a different public domain photo and rendered each as vectors in Adobe Illustrator.

Then, once Zara approved the concept, I drew the figure and painted her with acrylic and ink on illustration board.

Then, I photographed the painting and cut her out in Photoshop, then rendered her as a vector graphic as well. The rendering process made the painting look a little bit more like a photo and the photo portion look a little more like a painting, so the piece works together harmoniously.

A Murder is Announced Commission

murder-4x6-full-bleed-cardJust finished this poster for my friend’s theater production in Orange County. I think it has a cool, retro vibe.

It’s set up like an old 4-color press, but of course there are more than 4 colors. I just wanted to evoke the style.

Also, though it was overused in the mid- to late 1990s, there’s nothing better for a murder mystery than vintage typewriter font.

New children’s book project

Manatee tells his teacher about his favorite band in this art marker illustration for a children's book by Gary Schwind. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
Manatee tells his teacher about his favorite band in this art marker illustration for a children’s book by Gary Schwind. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

I’m excited to be working on a preliminary set of illustrations for a children’s book written by Southern California author Gary Schwind.

I can’t reveal all the details, but Gary agreed to let me share a few illustrations on my website here. Some are complete, some I may decide to re-do. Not sure yet, but I’ll have to take a look at the completed work to see which ones need re-done.

The story is about a young manatee who is a super fan of a rock band, and by the end (spoiler alert) he actually gets to meet them and get autographs.

This is the first project I’ve done with a new medium: art markers. These are the same kind used in many graphic novels and comic books, and the colors are rich and solid.

I bought a set for $100 about a year ago and have been fiddling with them off and on, but this is the first project I’ve worked on where I feel comfortable using them. One advantage is that you can turn out finished work really quickly, which is why high-production illustrators like comics artists use them.

Latest Commissioned Portrait in Oil

Portrait of Kyle "K-Money" Grove. 12X15 oil on canvas. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
Portrait of Kyle “K-Money” Grove. 12X15 oil on canvas. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

I’m finally able to post an image of this portrait of Kyle “K-Money” Grove. He was married in December of 2015 in Seattle to Julie Balazs, who commissioned the portriat as a wedding gift.

I made a sketch from the photograph shown, as well as other reference photographs, to start on the piece. I was pleased at how the initial sketch turned out, so I transferred it to the canvas rather than creating a new under-drawing.

To do this, I first Xeroxed the sketch so I wouldn’t have to ruin the original. Then, I coated the back of the copied sketch with a thick layer of vine charcoal. I used masking tape to fix the page to the front of the canvas, and then traced the lines of the sketch firmly with a ballpoint pen.

An exact duplicate of the original sketch was outlined in charcoal on the front of the canvas. That’s when I added in the hands and started putting down the first layers of oil paint.

He holds an abacus in reference to his current profession in statistical analysis — the abacus itself is set to the first 12 digits of Pi (3.14…) which is tattooed on his arm in real life. He also has an advanced degree in linguistics, hence the grammar book on which he rests his right hand.

The gift went over great! Congrats, Kyle and Julie!

If you’d like an estimate for a similar commission, don’t hesitate to call me a 740-632-3819, email at, or contact me via Facebook.

Two Paintings Mounted…

Two paintings by Adam Maxwell Townsend
Two paintings by Adam Maxwell Townsend; each 4’X’4 acrylic on plywood.

A client of mine recently mounted two of my 4’X4′ paintings on the wall of his home.

The one on the left is a portrait of the painting owner as a WWII soldier about to ambush a Nazi fortress from above as the German soldiers below drink and play cards. (The owner is a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorius Basterds.”)

The one on the right I was actually going to destroy because I found it depressing. It depicts a bunch of notorious criminals and killers from throughout history, flanked by animated skeletons recognizing each other as if they were old friends. In the bottom corners are portraits from the crowd a famous lynch mob photograph.

I feel like I said what I wanted to say with that painting, but then it started to depress me. The more I thought about it, the more the depiction of these scumbags seemed like glorification, though I didn’t mean it as such.

Before I burned it, though, someone expressed interest and ask if they could have it, so I relented.

Either way, I think they both look cool together, and I haven’t previously posted photos of either of these works.

Book Design for ‘Soundcheck’

Soundcheck by Jennifer Blanchard; cover design by Adam Maxwell Townsend
Soundcheck by Jennifer Blanchard; cover design by Adam Maxwell Townsend

My good friend and client Jennifer Blanchard, who is an author and writing coach, commissoned a cover design and illustration from yours truly. The following is a description of her debut novel “Soundcheck” as it appears on the bookcover and on her website:

As a rising star in the music industry, Mandy Simon seems to have it all: a killer knack for spotting talent, a promotion on the horizon, and a secret office romance with Miles Anderson, the marketing director at her company.

But her troubled past causes Mandy to break things off with him. When the decision backfires, she comes up against an ultimatum that puts her dream job at risk. And she finds herself fighting for success–and love–in ways she never imagined.

You can purchase the ebook or a paperback editon from Amazon; please do! I read the draft and it looks great. Waiting for my copy in the mail so I can read the final edition with my cover and all.

In the meantime, you can check out more of my illustration and design work here.

Finally finished with the “BIKER BAR” Commission

24"x36" Acrylic and ink on illustration board. By Adam Maxwell Townsend, Nov. 2014.
24″x36″ Acrylic and ink on illustration board. By Adam Maxwell Townsend, Nov. 2014.

I wrapped up the finishing touches on this painting Sunday. I used an orange art marker to lay the bricks over the blue-washed background of the bar.

See the my full Flickr slideshow of the painting’s progress from conception to completion below. Read my initial post about this painting here.

BIKER BAR in Progress…

Lately I’ve been hard at work on a commission. The assignment was for me to paint 11 figures of the clients friends, himself, his girlfriend and a blues musician in a fictional bar in New Orleans.

For the pictures, he provided me photographs of all the subjects. Needless to say this isn’t ideal, considering they’re all mostly front-facing busts and the composition requires a variety of different poses.

Not only do I have to rotate the heads in my mind and render them on the page based only on a photograph, but I have to create each of the figures mostly out of whole cloth with just a few generic references.

It’s always better to draw from life, of course, but this is a gift and a surprise, so it can’t be helped.

If you view the Flickr slideshow documenting my progress so far, you see I layered the pencil drawing first in primary colored washes. Then, I layer the paint so that a little of the underlying layer shows through.

This is a handy technique for creating atmosphere, and giving flesh a translucence. I use this technique for all my major acrylic paintings and illustrations, like “Jazz Painting #4,” “Harem Painting,” and “Jazz Painting #5

You’ll notice in the background I’ve added a marching band, spectators and a couple of women flashing their tits (these aren’t fully rendered as of this posting.)

If you look close, you can see little clues as to the location of bar, though most of these will be difficult to see until the painting is done.

For instance, the Fleur d’Elise is a motif throughout the image, among other clues.

The slideshow featured in this post will update automatically as I add more images documenting its progress. Shouldn’t be too long — I set a deadline to have it done by the end of the month.