Entrevue avec Sharon Steuer

wowcoverIl y a plus de 10 ans, je participait au salon MacWorld à New York. J’en était à ma dernière journée de visite et je recherchais un bon livre a acheter avant de retourner chez moi. C’est alors que j’ai appercu le présentoir de Peachpit Press. Je decidai d’aller voir les différents livres disponibles. C’est en regardant ces livres que l’un d’entre eux a retenu mon attention. C’était le Illustrator 8 Wow book. A cette époque, j’étais déjà utilisateur d’Adobe Illustrator depuis quelques années. Le livre m’attira beaucoup par sa forme et son contenu que j’ai décidé de l’acheter. Ce même jour, j’ai eu la chance et l’opportunité de rencontrer l’auteure de ma récente acquisition, Sharon Steuer. Elle était au présentoir de Peachpit répondant aux questions et signant son livre. Nous avons échangés quelques réflexions sur notre utilisation d’Illustrator et Je lui ai demandé de signé ma copie du livre. Ce fut le début d’une collaboration qui s’est développée au fils des ans. J’ai conservé précieusement ce livre autographié par Sharon. Chaque fois que je le vois dans ma bibliothèque d’heureux souvenirs me reviennent à l’esprit.

Aujourd’hui, pour souligner la sortie de la dixième édition du Illustrator WOW book, j’ai décidé de poser quelques questions à ma grande amie et auteure  Sharon Steuer. Dans le but de conserver l’intégrité de l’entrevue qui à été fait en anglais les réponses de Sharon n’ont pas été traduites.

C’est aussi la chance pour vous d’obtenir une copie du livre gratuitement gracieuseté de Peachpit Press. Vous n’avez qu’a laissé un commentaire sur ce blogue consernant l’entrevue ou l’utilisation que vous prevoyez faire du livre. Dimanche le 7 juillet 2009 à 20h00 je vais piger au hasard un gagnant.

Entrevue avec Sharon Steuer, auteure du Illustrator WOW CS4 book

Proficiografik: Sharon, je viens de lire récemment que la nouvelle édition du livre Illustrator CS4 WOW book est maintenant disponible. Avant de nous parler de cette nouvelle édition, pouvez-vous nous parler un peu de l’historique à propos de cette série de livres? Quand la première édition est-elle? Quelle était l’idée principale derrière le “WOW” concept?

Sharon Steuer: The short answer is that I started the book in 1994, and it was published 9 months later in early 1995 as a sequel to the Photoshop WOW! Book, and the Painter WOW! Book.

And…here’s a slightly longer answer….

I’ve worked as a digital artist since 1983, using the Mac since 1984, and Adobe Illustrator since 1987. In 1988 I began teaching, writing, and lecturing, about digital art–first it was Adobe Illustrator, then FreeHand, ColorStudio, Photoshop, and Painter. In 1994 Linnea Dayton told me that Peachpit Press was accepting proposals for sequels to her best-selling Photoshop WOW! Book (the Painter WOW! Book by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis was already underway), so i submitted a proposal to Peachpit Press for the Illustrator WOW! Book, and Peachpit said YES!. After months and months of interviewing artists and writing, in 1995 the book was finally published. I was really proud that the first edition covered virtually all of the features in Adobe Illustrator in 224 pages. Over the years, as new features were added to Illustrator, the book has grown in size. Then a couple of editions ago we realized that Adobe Illustrator had become so much more complex that, even doubled in size to 496 pages as it is now, we have to pick and choose which features are most useful to artists and designers.

PG: Pouvez-vous nous dire en quoi le livre «WOW book» est différent de tout autre livre qui traîte d’Adobe Illustrator?

SS: In many ways actually. First of all, The Adobe Illustrator WOW! Books are the only full-color book on Illustrator to have covered every version of Adobe Illustrator since 1994 - The Adobe Illustrator CS4 WOW! Book is the tenth edition. Over the past 15 years, we’ve been able to entice many many top professional Illustrator artists from around the world share their best tips, tricks, and techniques. It’s been translated into many languages, and it’s been used as a course book in schools and universities around the world. Art directors use it to find artists, and some people actually get the book just to sit on their coffee table, to look at the fabulous art! But Illustrator WOW is much more than just great art; I think perhaps what makes this book the most unique, is that we are the only book with such an astoundingly impressive team of writers and technical consultants, each of whom have robust careers of their own, but continue to contribute their expertise to the WOW! book. The Illustrator WOW! Book is also unique in that we have an incredible team of volunteer testers who, along with myself and our fabulous technical editor Jean-Claude Tremblay (Oh that’s you JC!), make sure that every lesson works as promised. Finally, Illustrator WOW! is the only full-color book designed to take intermediate through professional Illustrator artists step-by-step through learning techniques that will expand their technical and creative repertoire. And all lessons are intentionally focused and short, so professionals can squeeze in learning a new technique or two, in-between client projects.

PG: Donc, c’est plus un travail de collaboration que l’accomplissement d’une seule personne. Pouvez-vous nous en dire plus sur vos collaborateurs pour cette édition?

SS: Well I used to say that the original book was mostly a solo venture– and from the standpoint that I was the only person who sat at the computer for 16 hours a day for nine months, that’s true, but it’s always been a collaborative project. In that first edition, Barbara Sudick designed the template and helped tweak every page design-wise, Many many artists generously shared their art and expertise for the book, so the artists have always been full collaborators. And of course there was my first copy-editor Gary Pfitzer, and at the end, I found Peg Maskell Korn who helped implement the edits. Oh and my husband did all the cooking and cleaning for 9 months, and my mom helped proofread!

But for a number of editions now, Illustrator WOW! has become a completely collaborative project. My amazing technical editor and I decide what needs to happen to a new edition, and I assign out pieces of the project to an incredible professional team of digital experts. On the team we have a wide range of artists and designers (Cartographer Steven Gordon is my longest collaborator, Lisa Jackmore has been with the book a long time as well, and then more recently joining us are Illustrator blogger and artist Ryan Putnam, and teacher/artists Andrew DashwoodRandy LivingstonAaron McGarry). We even have a number of contributors who have been writing for the WOW! Book for so long that they’re now famous writers of their own books (Mordy Golding for Real World Adobe IllustratorConrad Chavez for Real World Adobe Photoshop, and Dave Awl for Facebook Me!). And we’ve been lucky enough to have Photoshop WOW! co-author Cristen Gillespie join us for two editions as a major contributor to the book. There’s also the WOW! testers, our editor Elizabeth Rogalin, all the folks at Peachpit, Peg Maskell Korn (who is STILL helping with the book!), artist/teacher Laurie Grace who helps with updating lessons, proofers, the printer, indexer, and the list goes on….

I am involved with every page of the book, and although I am still often working alone in a room with my computer, we are all networked to each other through the net.

PG: À quel types d’utilisateurs ce livre est-il destiné? Qui peut en bénéficier?

SS: It really is a book for intermediate through professional Illustrator users. Although there certainly is some good information for beginners in the book (such as the Zen of Illustrator), I would never recommend this book as the only training for a beginner. in fact, I really am a believer that, if possible, hands-on training is best to get you started– once you’ve got places in your brain for the new information to go, then self-learning with a book can be great. As a long-time teacher of digital art technologies, I’ve found that you really need to do it yourself in order to assimilate new information. So, Illustrator WOW! gives you detailed instructions for how to integrate actual techniques developed by top Illustrator professional, using your own art. Much of the art in the book is also on the CD is for you to pick apart and understand, but you have to make the art yourself, and by doing that, you really integrate the techniques into your artistic arsenal.

PG: Qu’avez-vous appris sur le plan personnel et professionnel en travaillant avec autant de collaborateurs et artistes talentueux au fil des ans à réaliser les différentes éditions du Illustrator WOW book?

SS: Oh so much. As an artist, I have my own way of working, but there are always a zillion ways to do almost anything, and just because you figured out one way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way, or even the best way! When I started the first edition, for instance, I didn’t know that it was possible to create photorealistic art in Illustrator, and I didn’t understand how masks can be used to contour complex colors. And with each new version, when Adobe Illustrator introduces new features, all of the team learns from each other: the artists and writers and testers all build off information we share with each other during the process of the book, often discovering new techniques along the way.

PG: Combien de nouveaux contenu les lecteurs peuvent-ils s’attendre de la version précédente du livre? Vaut-il la peine d’acheter cette édition même les lecteurs possède déjà une version antérieure?

SS: The easy answer is that there is tons of new information, including new lessons using multiple artboards, the new Gradient Annotator, the updated Appearance panel, and working with the improved interface, etc., and every page of the book has been replaced or reworked based on CS4. But the longer answer is that because the life-cycle of any version of the software is short , we simply do not have enough time to create an all-new book from scratch– and be able to deliver it to the reader while that version of the program is still the one on the shelves. As a result, although every page contains fully updated information and screenshots, there are a number of lessons and galleries that might be familiar to owners of the CS2 or CS3 edition of the book (with one art piece from CS). If you’re not sure if this edition contains enough new material for your needs, try to look through a copy in a bookstore.

PG: Inclut avec le livre on retrouve un cd-rom. A quoi les lecteurs peuvent-ils s’attendre à trouver sur ce cd-rom?

SS: Well our technical editor, with the help of Design Tools Monthly editor Jay Nelson, compiled a fabulous collection of demo plug-ins and Illustrator-related applications for you to try out. We also include much of the art featured in the book on the CD so you can pick it apart and see how the files are constucted. There are also a batch of tutorials on the CD, including Zen of the Pen lessons, and other Zen lessons about stacking order, layers, and Transformation tools.

PG: Est-il possible pour les enseignants et formateurs d’utiliser le livre comme un outil pédagogique?

SS: Of course! We’ll have a companion course outline updated by Lisa Jackmore and myself available soon from and teachers can order the book, as well as any other Peachpit Press book, from

PG: Il y a-t-il un moyen pour les artistes illustrateurs de vous contacter afin de vous proposer leurs illustrations dans le but éventuel de les inclures dans une édition future du «WOW Book»? Quel type de réalisations recherchez-vous?

SS: Yes! We are always looking for professional art and design, especially art that demonstrates the newer features of the program, or shows a really cool technique.

You can send me links to a website containing your work at: If you don’t have a website, but have samples that you want to send, please email me first, and we’ll arrange for you to send low-res jpgs first.

PG: Quel est votre fonction préférée d’Adobe Illustrator CS4 et pourquoi?

SS: Well, actually I think the interface improvements to the Appearance panel, and the way the panels work is enough to justify the upgrade. it’s just so much easier and quicker to get stuff done– there aren’t as many “NEW FEATURES” in this upgrade, but it’s more that it runs better– like “under the hood” improvements so you’re not stuck at lights any more. We produced the book in InDesign CS3, so I was moving back and forth between CS3 and CS4 interface design– there’s no comparison– CS4 is much cleaner and simpler and easier to use!

PG: Lorsque vous n’est pas occupé à la coordination et l’écriture du «Wow Book», quel sont vos occupations?

SS: Well, I would actually say is that the WOW! Book is what I do mainly for a living, and when I’m not working on the WOW! Book, I’m a full-time artist. I’m also looking into getting more involved in interactive and online training for digital artists.

PG: Sharon, merci d’avoir bien voulu répondre à mes questions pour cette entrevue!

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Categories : Adobe, CS4, Illustrator, Book | Monday, June 29, 2009

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