Making a Posterised Book Cover with AI

Images are posterised when the graphic designer creates large, flat areas of colour or tone. This style is reminiscent of 20th century pop art popularized by Andy Warhol, influenced by the arrival of photography. Photography technologies changed the course of painting forever.

And here are some Warhol style capsicums I painted recently, with the photo reference I prepared beforehand.

The posterised effect is easily achieved by adding a “posterise” adjustment layer in photo editing software. Dragging the slider adjusts the amount of complexity — the number of colours — you want in the image. Basically, ‘posterise’ means ‘simplify’.

The slider doesn’t always give you enough control. Designers often use a variety of tools — other than the slider — to get the look they want. Partly that’s because using the slider gives you jagged edges. This can be fixed by adding a gaussian blur, but that blurs everything on the layer. So the next step is to add a gradient map mask to the gaussian blur filter and paint back in where you want the detail retained (around the eyes and other focal points, typically).

Here’s a succinct tutorial I found on YouTube. It’s for Photoshop but can be easily adapted for Affinity Photo 2.


I’m guessing the graphic designer for the book cover of Other People’s Clothes desatured the photo of the young woman’s face, pulled the curves layer down to emphasise the darks then added a colour blend mode layer, painting with pink (for the skin) and another overlay blend mode layer with red (for the lips).

The header book cover (which does not exist) was made using this method with the Town font family (for the author name and title, and Schabo for the tagline.

I started with an AI image generated using ClipDrop with the prompt “Ophelia wearing sunglasses by French painter Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret” (Digital Art model). I really like the original, so I’ll show you what it gave me:



But hand-painted


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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