How the designs are created

All of the designs for sale on Cotswold Poster Co have been created digitally but ‘by hand’, by which I mean that no filters or shortcuts are used. It takes about a day to do the whole process. Let me explain via an example design…

  1. Referencing a few photos of the scene I’m interested in, I start by drawing all of the buildings and key structures. I’ll do a bit of tracing at this stage but the aim here to simplify down to minimalist shapes.
  2. Next I’ll add in the plants, trees, and general greenery, which is again, is a simplified, shape-based approach.



  3. Once all the line work is done, I’ll add in the colour. This stage can take a while as there’s a balancing act between keeping it looking realistic and also bright and bold.
  4. Finally I’ll apply the sky and typography to create the poster. At this point I’ll print it off, which makes it easier to spot areas that need improving. I’ll then do any final tweaks to tighten up the finished design and colour balance.

A different method to be aware of

An alternative approach to designing by hand, is just to use illustrator software to auto-trace a photograph. At first glance it creates a similar effect and it can look alright for plants and trees but it makes buildings look really odd and messy, and shapes look ragged with little definition (see the examples below).

In the early days of eBay I bought several of what I thought were original posters but when they arrived turned out to just be photos with this effect applied. I’ve felt like it’s cheating ever since! You might see a few designers selling work done in this style but it means they haven’t done much in the way of design or illustration themselves.

Matt,
Designer/founder