Home / Articles / Adobe Illustrator / Adobe Illustrator Master Class: An Interview with Sharon Milne

Adobe Illustrator Master Class: An Interview with Sharon Milne

  • Date: Jan 8, 2013.

Article Description

Peachpit interviews Sharon Milne, author of Adobe Master Class: Illustrator Inspiring artwork and tutorials by established and emerging artists, about her book, what binds Illustrator artists together, and why vector illustration is so important.

Peachpit: Who was Adobe Master Class: Illustrator Inspiring artwork and tutorials by established and emerging artists written for?

Sharon Milne: When I was putting together the artists and tutorials for the book, the key audience I was aiming to please were those who enjoy and appreciate vector art. Vector artists seem to be overlooked by those who work with Photoshop, as it's more mainstream and more known, so actually having a book with Adobe Illustrator artists is a big deal. It's something the community has been desiring for a while.

Peachpit: How did you decide which artists to feature in the book?

Sharon: It has been a hard process because there is so much talent out there that I wanted to feature! First and foremost I wanted to feature artists whose work you can appreciate regardless of the medium used. This would make it appeal to a variety of people, not just vector fans. Then I wanted to look at artists whose technical skill matched their creativity. It's my hope that regardless of your level of knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and vector art, you can appreciate the aesthetics within the book as well as the wide variety of styles possible. On a technical level, you're looking at a group of highly skilled artists who can manipulate a medium into compositions, which could leave you doubting it is actually vector... I assure you it is! I hope with just the tip of the iceberg showcased in Adobe Master Class: Illustrator, it could entice the non vector art fan into finding out more!

For the tutorials in the book, I chose artists with unique styles, who ultimately have something valuable to share. Sometimes to appreciate artwork further you need to gain this insight into an artist's process. It's not just a matter of painting strokes on a canvas; it's so much more!
Peachpit: What makes this book different from other Illustrator titles?

Sharon: There are no books out there that aim to showcase vector artists and the diversity of illustrative styles out there. Those being introduced to Adobe Illustrator, perhaps in an educational setting, may be led to believe that the program is there to create logos and technical diagrams. This book goes way beyond this and is showcasing art. There are tutorial books out there, but they tend to focus on specific tools and minor projects, not full-fledged illustrations which you could see on t-shirts, framed on walls or used in an editorial setting.
Peachpit: Are there certain techniques that these artists (or any great Illustrators) have in common?

Sharon: While technically each artist approaches their work differently, there is something which is common in most vector artists: a sense of pride. As I say, Adobe Illustrator artists live under the shadow of Adobe Photoshop when it comes to digital artwork. So a lot of artists, including myself, have such a sense of pride that they are able to create such pieces of work in vector with the restraints we have. Adobe Illustrator artists enjoy the challenge and like to push themselves as far as possible. This is especially true of artists such as Maria Goubar, Ekaterina Dedova, Samuel Sinaga, Asher Benson and myself, who are featured in the book. It's the finishing of a complex piece and being proud that the work can be resized to any size imaginable, it's a rush.
Peachpit: Where do you look for inspiration?

Sharon: I personally find inspiration in many places, but there are two sources which have a habit of ending in an illustration. The first would be my family. By family I mean my partner and our three pets--two cats and a dog. They are full of life and have wonderful characters, it's so easy to imagine situations they could be in or how they interact with everyday situations. For instance, in the book I show you how to create a vector illustration based on my hyperactive cat, Harley Quinn. It all started when I saw her chasing a fly and pawing the window to capture it. It reminded me of a certain iconic 80s movie scene of a Karate Master trying to catch a fly with chopsticks.

The second would be drag queens. The core of my personal work is portrait work--specifically women--and drag queens are exaggerations of the female form, almost like cartoon characters of dramatic women. It's that aesthetic I love and try to bring to my portrait work.
Peachpit: How have illustrations and the Illustrator community changed since you began your career?

Sharon: Over the years I've been in the vector community, it has grown a considerable amount, but the warmth the community has and the willingness to share with those who are new to vector has remained the same. As computers develop and Adobe Illustrator offers more "toys" and tools to play with, the more those who are new to the medium are curious to take part. I guess this is why the demand for more tutorials has increased! People just want to know more about how others create their work in the hope they can achieve the same. This is one of the great aspects of this book, is that you can be inspired by the artwork being showcased, but also gain insight from these artists processes.
Peachpit: What advice would you offer to newbie illustrators?

Sharon: Adobe Illustrator is more than just the Pen Tool. The Pen Tool is an iconic tool in vector art, but it's far from being the only or even most important tool in a vector artist’s arsenal. A lot of people will jump in and maybe put off due to the Pen Tool and it does take a while to become comfortable with and master, but once you do it gets a lot easier. This being said, you can always get into Adobe Illustrator without using the Pen Tool and come back to it later. Have patience and passion, and it will become like second nature. Adobe Illustrator and vector is the future, and if you're going to learn any form of digital art, using Adobe Illustrator is the route to go down.


Adobe Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Adobe Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Adobe Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.adobepress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020