The power of promotional postcards can be a force to be reckoned with for any designer and artist. Character-maestro Andrew Groves shows you how to use Illustrator to create yours.


As a tool that regularly reminds clients that you’re alive and available for work, creative postcards are a great solution. Cheap to produce, these mini canvases provide a snapshot of your latest work in miniature.

And if the style appeals, you’ll find many creative directors pinning promo cards to their studio walls, ready to pick up and commission when that style is needed.

The secret is to keep them coming. Don’t just produce one, and fire it off in December along with the rest of the design fraternity – send them monthly, or when you scoop a creative award and use it to showcase the winning work.

Or, tell a story that shows evolving characters that the recipients can emote with, played out over several cards. Whatever you do, have fun with this fusion of miniature canvas and self-promo tool.


Step 1
First, do some sketches of your character before you turn on your computer. Getting things down on paper will stop you from staring at a blank screen in Illustrator.

Once you’ve sketched out some ideas, make a new document the size of the postcard (148-x-105mm) and create two layers, one called Background and one called Artwork. If you’re using the file from the CD, open and place it on the Background layer, and lock it.



Step 2
Using your original sketches for reference, start drawing the main character on the Artwork layer. Using the pen tool, set the fill colour to a suitably beastly tone and turn off the stroke. Start to draw a rough shape of the outline of your creature.