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.

#LeroyJones Story Pitch

Recently, I finished my novel #LeroyJones: A Skip Maddox Mystery. I’m currently deep into the editing and revision process, but the book is in a form now I can start shopping around to agents and editors.

If you read my story pitch below and want to find out more, call me at 740-632-3819 or email to read the first 20 pages or receive a copy (print or digital) of the entire manuscript.

Here’s the pitch:

Unemployed sports writer and borderline alcoholic Skip Maddox is about as low as he can get. The LA Times laid him off, he separated from his wife and his landlord evicted him from his shabby West Covina apartment.

Things seem to be looking up, though, when second-tier sports news website hires Maddox to freelance at the fight of the century, starring the wealthy, flamboyant boxer and controversial civil rights activist Leroy “Panther” Jones.

But two days after the troubled Jones wins the fight, police find him brutally killed in front of his Beverly Hills mansion, a racial slur spray-painted across the front door. The murder is a media bombshell, and the online newsfeeds are dominated by “#LeroyJones” as millions of readers clamor for the full story.

StadiumCentral taps Maddox to cover the murder. He learns the FBI, led by combative East-Coast agent Tony Morone, snatched the investigation from local police control in a suspicious move. The same day, Maddox gets an anonymous tip: The murder isn’t the random hate crime the FBI has made it seem. When the hard-luck reporter questions Morone, the agent threatens StadiumCentral, getting Maddox fired.

Calling for help from his friend and former colleague, the esteemed ex-investigative journalist Harry Bloomquist, Maddox descends into an interstate conspiracy involving the mob, high-level corruption and gut-wrenching secrets lurking in Jones’s past.

From the opulent MGM Grand in Las Vegas to Beverly Hills; from the tough LA neighborhood of Watts to the industrial waterfront of Newark, NJ, Maddox and Bloomquist contend with a gang of mafia thugs, a recalcitrant criminal justice bureaucracy and an unscrupulous PI who’s not quite on their side.

The reporters are determined, but it’s not clear they’ll live to publish the truth.

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.

Nursery Mural

This 5'X3.5' acrylic on canvas is the decoration for a nursery, populated by storybook and fantasy characters. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
This 5’X3.5′ acrylic on canvas is the decoration for a nursery, populated by storybook and fantasy characters. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

When my wife and I decided to have a baby (a little girl due in August), I knew I had to do something special to decorate the nursery.

That’s why I put together this 5’X3.5′ mural populated with fantasy and children’s book characters. I’ll be filling in the correct constellation and poster on the door in the mirror, depending on when her birth sign is.

The medium is acrylic on canvass, which I tacked to the wall. I drew the sketch at about 1/8th scale, scanned it into the comupter and manipulated it so it was abou 4″X6″, and I then used an opague projector to throw it up on the wall and trace the lines.

See how many characters you recognize!

Self-Portrait Sculpture

Clay Self Portrait. Life-Sized. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
Clay Self Portrait. Life-Sized. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

This is a life-size self-portrait in porcelain clay that I finished this weekend under the instruction of Jim Lee, a sculptor from Northern California who held a workshop at the Jennifer Joyce Ceramic Art Studio in San Clemente.

The class was invaluable; I’ve already studied anatomy extensively in my study of paintings and stone carving, but there’s no way I could have come up with such a clean piece so quickly and accurately without the techniques, tips and shortcuts Jim teaches in his classes.

In the images posted here, the clay is still wet. The next steps include hollowing out the now-solid sculpture and removing the armature, allowing the drying process to finish, firing the clay to the hardness of porcelain, and then finishing the piece with paint and wax.

Not only was this class invaluable in teaching me sculpting/modeling technique, but it is also adding depth and perspective to my two-dimensional work.

I’ll publish another post in a few months when the piece is completely ready for presentation.




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.

Preliminary Studies for Nudes Series

Preliminary sketches for a series of life-size nude paintings. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
Preliminary sketches for a series of life-size nude paintings. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

Sometimes the decision to create comes from the materials at hand.

In this case, I have about 125 square feet of extra dark, hardwood flooring left over from redoing my apartment. I can’t seem to get rid of it, so I’m going to assemble it into a series of surfaces for a series of life-sized nudes.

I’m going to let the wood grain show through in the background, and I’m going to be using gold leaf for certain elements.

Once each figure is done, I’ll be applying a coat of clear varnish, and then using a wash to add a patina, so the image looks ancient. Very iconographic. My inspiration for this approach comes from these early Christian portraits from Alexandria.

I’ll post them as I complete them. Right now, I’m assembling sketches during the figure drawing sessions at San Clemente Art Supply held every Wednesday.

I’m drawing the initial sketches in an 11″X14″ notebook, which I will then expand to life-size on the panel using the grid method.

Fine art, murals, illustration, photography, writing and editing