Hidden Gems in Acrobat DC: Protect Confidential Information

In the BYOD world, security is crucial. Whether for work or personal life, it’s important to take security measures to protect documents with private information. Financial data, social security numbers, passwords… this information is vital, but isn’t necessarily secure over email. What if your message gets forwarded to the wrong person?
Adding an extra level of security to your PDF is quick and easy, plus it helps protect your personal information.
1. Open your document and select Protect from the Tools Center.
2. Choose Encrypt with Password from the Encrypt dropdown.

3. Check Require a password to open the document and enter a password. For each keystroke, the password strength meter evaluates your password and indicates the strength.

4. Confirm the Document Open Password and Save your document to encrypt the file.
5. Email your PDF file and password in separate messages.
Rest easy knowing your confidential information is safe and secure with Acrobat DC.

Think you know everything there is to know about Acrobat DC? Think again! Learn about more hidden gems by taking a look at the “Learn” section of our blog.
Not yet an Acrobat DC user? Sign up for our free trial.

Adobe Summit EMEA 2016: Experience Business and Conversion Rate

“Are you an Experience Business ?” is probably the most important question that can be asked today. When I look at my relationship with a number of brands and businesses of all size, I must admit that Customer Experience has become the most important factor for staying or looking for an alternative. Because of this “Customer Experience” factor and the ease of switching providers, I have changed my smartphone brand for the first time in 5 years, changed my bank for the first time in 7 years and I look at other that it is just the beginning.
Working with Marketing Leaders over the last couple of years I see how their focus has shifted from building and promoting a brand to creating an engaging experience for customer and prospects at scale. Their job is complicated as they have to make  hard choices about resource allotment and juggle with too many priorities and responsibilities. 
What has not changed and has become even more important is conversion rates. They are still either top of the list of near top of the list when it comes to priorities. Based on a number of recent engagements with customers and partners, it appears that the results from the 2014 Digital Marketing Optimisation Study remain highly relevant. 
Regardless of industry or scale, 75% of all marketers believe that personalisation is important to their organization’s long-term goals. But most have a long way to go to arrive at efficient, effective personalization for their customers and prospects. 
While you might wonder if personalisation is worth the effort and the investment, our survey shows that customers who focus on personalisation and optimisation have conversion rates higher than 4.5%. Compared to an average conversion rate of 2.6% it easily shows how focussing on Personalisation and Optimisation can translate in millions of Euro of additional revenue.
During Summit EMEA 2016, we will have a track dedicated to Personalisation and Optimisation. This year’s agenda has a great combination of Processes, People and Product focussed session. Since these three pillars are key in having a great Personalisation programme, I have handpicked three sessions that I have placed in each dimension. 
Product: Making the most of cross-solution capabilities with the new People core service – TL6
If you like to experience the solution, I would advise to join the hands-on lab Mark Wallman and I will run on the People core service. The People core service helps you build a comprehensive view of individual customers by connecting Adobe and non-Adobe data in your Marketing Cloud solutions. You will then be able to understand what matters most to them as they interact across touch points and use this information to build segments that can drive your personalisation efforts across all solutions within the Adobe Marketing Cloud. During this 45 minutes session, we’ll build segments in Adobe Analytics, enrich them using CRM data and leverage these audiences in Adobe Target.
People: Unleash your inner data scientist with Adobe Target – PO6
In this session, Ashish Umre (Optimisation Manager at Tesco) and Pradeep Javangula (Head of Engineering for Adobe Target) will be discussing how you want unleash your inner data scientist. They will discuss what data science offers for personalisation and optimisation, present best practices from industry leaders for using data science in digital marketing analytics and optimisation. And finally show you how to put data science to work right now
Process: Clearing hurdles for optimisation success – PO8
Whether you’re brand new to testing or you’ve been optimising for years, this session will highlight common challenges that organisations face as their testing program expands and matures.  Blair Keen (Business Consulting Manager at Adobe) will showcase how leading companies have cleared some of these “hurdles” to deliver tangible results in conversion and revenue.
One last thing… 
A great preparation for Summit is to use the Adobe Personalisation Maturity self assessment tool to identify your organisation’s strength and focus areas in Personalisation. This online questionnaire looks at six Optimisation dimensions: Culture, Strategy, Organisation, Leadership, Execution and Reach. Taking the assessment only take 20 minutes and help you have a good understanding on how your organisation scores and how it relates to other companies in your industry. 
Feel free to share the results of the assessment with your Adobe representative or myself. We’ll be more than happy to discuss the results with you.
Looking forward to meet you during Summit EMEA 2016.

Designing the Voice Experience

Natural language technology just might be the next major paradigm shift to disrupt technology, but how will it affect UX design?
Perhaps you’ve watched a similar scene unfold. A toddler grabs an iPhone off a table and begins frantically flipping through it on a quest to find their favorite app. Maybe she can’t yet communicate in full sentences and yet she has this innate understanding of how to navigate touchscreen technology. If you handed her an old laptop, she might immediately move her hands to the screen.
“You see children now that are raised on tablets and touchscreens, they expect to also be able to touch the TV and interact with it,” says Christina Apatow, VP of Client Solutions at Speaktoit, inc., the company behind the talking personal assistant app Assistant and API.Ai.
Apatow’s team is working on UX technologies that make voice communications between humans and computers more organic. Just as we’re perfecting tactile technologies, she says voice is already becoming a larger part of experience design (XD). It won’t be long, she says, before kids distinctively pick up that iPhone and ask it to perform a certain task.
“I think in the future, children are going to be trying to talk to all their devices and tell them what to do even if they’re not voice enabled. It’s going to be similar where people are raised on this expectation that they can just interact with [a device] in the way that’s easiest for them,” Apatow said.
The ABCs of Natural Language Technologies
More companies are beginning to incorporate natural language technologies into their products. Since Speaktoit, inc. launched its artificial intelligence API in 2014, more than 25,000 developers have signed up for the platform. Voice experiences are being built into smart home technologies, warehouse management systems, automobile systems, wearables, consumer electronics, assistive technologies and more.
“We started off using a mouse and keyboard, then the next major paradigm shift was to touchscreens,” said Apatow. “I think [natural language technology] is going to be the next paradigm shift that really disrupts all technology and how users expect to interact with things.”
Look Who’s Talking: Conversational UX Design
Ensuring a smooth conversational UX happens largely outside of a user’s tactile engagement. For a user to have a successful experience, the technology needs to understand user behavior and respond in authentic ways. This is different from conventional UX design and relies solely on function over visual cues.
“When you’re doing something the traditional way, say you have an app that has different navigation and you need to click a couple buttons to get somewhere, there’s inherently this hierarchy of what you can access through a certain number of clicks,” Apatow said. “With a voice experience, that’s all completely mitigated. You’re just activating it and then asking for whatever you want, and so everything should be accessible to you.”
To be effective, experience designers need to anticipate the types of things a user is going to want to do or ask, and then the system needs to be programmed and “trained” to respond accordingly.
“These experiences are predictive as well as extremely natural, and you’ll be able to interact with them as you would any other human,” Apatow said.
How Conversational UX Learns to Understand Users
Most smartphone users have communicated with artificial intelligence already through Siri and similar applications, but what’s different about natural language technologies is their ability to understand context through training.
This technology works by tying user requests to specific actions. For example, if you were building a music player, you could incorporate queries like “play Madonna” or “start playing the Beatles” and the application would understand that this variance in linguistics pertains to the same request.
“We try to mimic exactly how humans interact so that it remembers for a certain period of time what you were talking about, and then it has a natural decay over a certain number of queries or a certain period of time,” Apatow said. “It will eventually forget so that only what you’re talking about most recently will have active context. That’s sort of how the human memory also works.”
Voice Experiences Are Growing Up Fast
Apatow says that while this may sound futuristic, people in charge of designing experiences need to understand that this is part of the immediate future. “Even since last year, I’ve seen companies’ priorities shift from not having voice experience in the roadmap to now it’s their top priority,” she said.
“Interacting with voice and gesture, that should be something that can be ready within the next year so. I think we are seeing that technology has come to a point where all this stuff is feasible and now it’s just a matter of integrating everything, incorporating it and inspiring companies to have it in their products.”
She recognizes that not every company will be quick to embrace natural language voice experiences, but in her opinion it’s the way of the future.
Falling In Love With the Idea of Artificially Intelligent User Experiences
In Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her, a writer develops a loving relationship with his artificially intelligent operating system. While Apatow doesn’t claim this exact thing is happening with her company’s assistant app, she did mention that many users see these conversational experiences as more than just a utility.
“A lot of people interact with our assistant like it’s their friend,” she said. “They ask it questions. They’ll ask it to marry them. They really try to get to know it and it seems like care about it almost, almost as if it is their friend or another human. They’ll name it, they can customize it, and they can tell it jokes. They can interact with it largely like it’s another human.”
As technological experiences become more aligned with human experiences, one can’t help but wonder how this may affect the human condition as well. Perhaps some day soon children will hold their imaginary friends in the palm of their hands.

Creating & Sharing: Meet the 2016-2017 Adobe Creative Residents


I can hardly believe it’s been a year since we launched the Adobe Creative Residency program, and I’m thrilled to announce the people and ideas we are investing in this year. The goal of the Residency is to give talented, emerging creative professionals the opportunity to spend a full year working on their dream projects without having to worry about competing priorities and deadlines. In return, the residents share their experiences and processes with the community so others can benefit from their learnings and get a window into their worlds.
The 2015 Creative Residents truly demonstrated what can be achieved when you set ambitious creative goals for yourself and have the freedom to do your best work. Designer and tinkerer Kelli Anderson taught us about the magical qualities of paper through her elaborately engineered inventions, while illustrator and author Becky Simpson delighted us with her playful illustrations which evolved into her online store, Chipper Things.
Building upon the success of the first year, we are expanding the program to four residents this year. From video and virtual reality to digital animation and hand lettering, the work our new residents will embark upon spans a wide range of mediums, using a diverse palette of tools.
Meet The 2016-2017 Adobe Creative Residents

Filmmaker and online personality Sara Dietschy, of Nashville, Tennessee, creates video content for her self-titled YouTube channel which has over 100,000 subscribers. Sara’s passion for the creative community inspired her to create travel vlogs, tutorials, and several ongoing video series including “Creative Spaces TV” and “That Creative Life” both of which aim to explain the “where” and “how” behind creative life.
If she craves a certain type of show, she doesn’t wait for it to happen—she creates it herself and shares it with her online community. This year, Sara will focus on taking her video series to the next level by amplifying her work across social media channels, refining her online persona, and pursuing new mediums for sharing her work. From editing in Audition and polishing in Premiere to creating graphical elements for her videos in Photoshop, Sara uses a range of tools to get the job done. She’s looking forward to sharing “this crazy-awesome journey with her internet family” via YouTube, Snapchat, and more.
Photo credit: Sarah Deragon, Portraits to the People
Graphic designer and hand letterer Christine Herrin, of San Francisco, California, is obsessed with stories, paper, and print. Travel and her passion for documenting her experiences have always been a central theme in her work as a designer, especially in the line of products she’s been creating for the past few years. Through her monthly Instagram challenges, she entices community participation around how to use images, words, and illustration to explore new places and chronicle life’s most interesting moments.
During the Creative Residency, Christine will expand upon her product line by creating a design-rich travel journal meant to inspire people to document their lives in creative, meaningful ways –as she leads the way. She’ll be using art supplies, digital SLR and iPhone cameras, and Creative Cloud tools to turn her analog hand lettering into digital and printed products.
Appropriately dubbed an “illustr-animator,” Syd Weiler of Sarasota, Florida, finds inspiration in everyday life and the seemingly mundane. She works completely digitally, preferring her tablet over a blank sheet of paper. For her graduate thesis, “Before & After,” Syd created a series of digital illustrations depicting places in two different states of being side by side in order to explore the concept of time. While Syd learned most of what she knows in college and through her experience as a designer for forthcoming indie video game Jenny LeClue, she has been able to steadily grow a passionate online following through posting work, such as her popular GIFs on Twitter.
During the Creative Residency, Syd will expand upon her thesis, also creating a high-quality, zine-like book and animated gallery to turn her project into various offline experiences. She plans to share her technique and processes, including why she prefers to work digitally, with the Adobe community by streaming her work as she creates it.
With a background in multimedia and 3D design, Craig Winslow of Portland, Oregon, spent the past few years building his own studio and creating interactive work for clients. When he moved from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon, he turned his cross-country trip into an art project called Projecting West which he crowdfunded through Kickstarter. During the trip, he developed a fascination with ghost signs and ideated a way to bring the signs back to life.
Craig is now photographing ghost signs across the U.S., creating and animating vector versions of them using Illustrator and After Effects, and projecting these “Light Capsules” back onto the original signs to share what the original designs looked like with the public. The goal of the project is to draw attention to the unacknowledged lettering artists of the past and create various ways for people to interact with these small pieces of history, whether in person or online. Craig will share his processes and work during his cross-country journey while the creative community tags along for the ride.
Our vision is to empower people to create – to enable anyone with an idea to bring it to life. As each Creative Resident brings their passion project to life, we invite you to share in their process and progress. The 2016 Creative Residents will soon be starting their journey and contributing their ideas and perspective to the creative community. We hope their work this year inspires you as much as their stories have inspired us. Sara, Christine, Syd, Craig – we hope you enjoy the Creative Residency experience and I can’t wait to see what you create!
Learn more about this year’s residents on the Creative Residency program page.

“College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education” with Jeffrey Selingo


This is an exciting time for higher education institutions. New technologies are driving change in public and institutional policies, which in turn effect the teaching practices in classrooms. More people are gaining access to some form of higher education than at any other time in history. There are renewed debates around higher education’s role in society and our personal lives.
Adobe Education is adding its voice to the conversation, and is set to run a seven-part, aspirational, webinar series on the future of higher education and the transformation of the educational experiences that are preparing students for the creative economy. This series features a collection of thought leaders who represent a diverse set of perspectives from the field of higher education. The goal of the series is to advance ongoing dialogue around preparing students for the future, digital pedagogy, and the college of tomorrow.
Jeffrey Selingo, the former editor at large for the Chronicle of Higher Education and author of the new book There is Life After College, kicked-off the series with College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education. Jeff takes participants on a tour of the college of tomorrow: “We are moving away from an era of education ‘just one time’ and into an era of education ‘just in time’ where students will become lifelong learners and engage with a variety of educational providers from traditional colleges and universities to boot camps and MOOCs.”
He presents his vision for what a redesigned bachelor’s degree might look like, how education will move to a lifelong and “just-in-time” model, and how traditional education can prove its value in a crowded marketplace of choices.
Please join us for Jeff Selingo’s talk: College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education

Using Creative Cloud to Bring Theme Parks to Life

This post is part of our ongoing Unexpected Creative Careers series. Click here to view all posts in this series.
Becoming a Disney Imagineer or a theme park designer is every kid’s dream career. For the team at BRC Imagination Arts, it’s a reality. BRC is an experience design and production agency that creates theme park rides, museum exhibits, cultural attractions and brand destinations for clients around the world. Their projects range from The Mystery Lodge at Knott’s Berry Farm to the Heineken Experience.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Christian Lachel, Executive Creative Director, and Carmel Lewis, Executive Producer, to learn more about their work and ask their advice for aspiring designers.
How do you describe BRC and its unique focus? 
Carmel Lewis: BRC creates experiences that spark emotions – a smile, a laugh, a lump in the throat. When you can reach the heart of an audience, it’s possible to trigger curiosity that extends far beyond the experience itself. We are the creative producer and director of every discipline that comprises the experience – the story as told with physical sets and graphics, integrated technology, multi-media elements, original music, lighting, live scripting. We create and tell stories in physical space where there is little or no separation between the story and the audience.

What inspired you to focus on experience design and theme parks?
Christian Lachel: Our team creates “brand homes” for clients like Ford and Heineken. My passion is all about using the new tools of immersive storytelling and engagement to make people feel what Joseph Campbell called “the rapture of being alive.”
What are the biggest industry trends in experience design?
Christian Lachel: The first trend is immersion: using the new storytelling tools to put guests at the center of the experience, engage them from the first instant and transport them to someplace new and unexpected. The second is personalization. How can we create an experience that welcomes each guest by name, acknowledges personal preferences and creates a journey unique to that guest?

What tools do you use in your work?
Christian Lachel: Talking to our creative team about Adobe products is like talking to fish about water: we use so many of them so much of the time they’re literally the creative world we live in. Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, AfterEffects, Dreamweaver, Bridge, Acrobat Pro.
What do you look for in the people you hire?
Carmel Lewis: A spark. A natural and insatiable curiosity. Variety of skills and solid instincts. Some of our work calls for specialists with deep-seeded specific skills, but much of what we need as a studio requires maker-doer people with passion for solving creative and technical puzzles in service of great story.
What advice do you have for people thinking about a creative career in experience design?
Carmel Lewis: Ask for opportunities and say “yes” to as much as you think you can handle, even if it doesn’t present a direct path to where you think you want to end up. Take the risk and be willing to figure things out on the job. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and when you do, OWN THEM. That’s how you grow. Suppress that voice in your head that makes you worried you’ll be found a ‘fraud’ and just keep rolling forward. Because the secret is: EVERYBODY who is good at what they do has similar feelings of inadequacy. I worry more about the ones who don’t.
If you’re interested in learning more about careers in theme park or attractions design, visit the Themed Entertainment Association. Their NextGen events and seminars offer an inside look at getting started in the attractions industry.

Kevin Brooks Pushes Creativity Forward

Project 1324 asked this year’s Sundance Ignite Fellows to describe their experience at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and the effect it had on their filmmaking. Here is Kevin Brooks, one of the five winners of our “What’s Next?” short film challenge, on wanting to do kickflips at Sundance and how film can “push society forward.”
My Sundance experience was absolutely amazing. I learned so much while I was there and made many long lasting friendships with people that are so talented and gifted. I can only hope that I will be able to collaborate with these people someday.
My favorite, most memorable moments at Sundance were definitely being able to see Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation”. That film was really well done and it carried such a powerful message that really resonates with the times that we’re living in right now. Nate Parker handled the subject matter within the movie with expertise in the way that he delivered it to the audience and made you think about what is taking place in front of you through his usage of symbolism. Also being able to meet Nate Parker afterwards was just an awesome and inspirational moment because I was sitting across from the director who potentially has the best movie of the year and will probably be nominated for an Oscar. Just being able to hear his advice on directing and how much detail goes into the creation of a film really changed my outlook on the way that I approach my own projects. Also him being an African American filmmaker and reaching the heights that he did really motivated me because, being an African American filmmaker myself, I aspire to be in his position someday and to have the opportunity of telling stories where people of all races can come together and emotionally connect with what I’m portraying on the screen.

I would define the Sundance Ignite Program as a life changing experience because personally, coming from Memphis, and having the opportunity to be in an environment like Sundance and being part of this amazing program, it really caused me to be more focused. The Sundance Ignite Program gave me opportunities to be at the table with directors that I look up to. So many filmmakers around the world want to make their way into Sundance, and at the age of 22, I got the opportunity to actually experience the distinguished film festival, and I am blessed to be able to be part of it. I now have to take responsibility and do my experience justice by working hard every day and not take an opportunity like this for granted.
My experience as a Sundance Ignite fellow impacted the films that I am working on now because upon arriving back to Memphis, it gave me a new mindset on how I approach filmmaking. After having the opportunity to be in the atmosphere of other great filmmakers – be it my other Ignite fellows, or the filmmakers that I got to meet at the film chats and through networking at the venues – it just really lit a fire inside of me and motivated me to go all out, so that one day, my film can be playing at Sundance, and like Nate Parker, I can create films that will make a social change in the way that we think and act as a society. Just being at Sundance brought to my attention that there are so many ways that I can touch and connect with an audience through art. With new technologies arriving on the market, just using film to tell a story is selling myself short. There are so many ways now that I can reach out and relate to people and get them to pay attention to things that they may not even notice are taking place around them.
I’m currently working on a short film that I hope will spark conversation on gang violence and how the repercussions from the choices that we make not only tears apart families and friends, but also creates forms of separation within our own neighborhoods. I’m currently in production on this project and am hoping that it will be accepted into many festivals so this message can be shared with as many people as possible.
Speaking of festivals, “Keep Pushing” was recently accepted into the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). I’m very excited and can’t wait to attend that festival in Seattle! Like my new projects, I’m hoping that “Keep Pushing” will get accepted into more festivals and to continue to travel more with the film.

In conversation with Gemma O’Brien

Make IT is right around the corner and we spoke to Australian artist and designer Gemma O’Brien  who specializes in lettering, illustration and typography. Get set to hear her speak at Make IT on 5 May, 2016.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background as a creative artist?
I have always been creative since I was very young, but after finishing school I ended up studying law. I quickly realised my heart wasn’t in it, and made the switch to a design degree. From that point forward I fell in love with typography and began to shape my career as a commercial artist with a focus on lettering and illustration. 
How did you get started in this field?
I initially got my break in the design world when I was invited to speak at Typo Berlin, aged 21. I was still finishing my university degree so it was an amazing opportunity to put my name out there at such an early stage in my career.  From that point forward I worked as a designer and art director in a couple of big, post-production studios, such as Animal Logic and Fuel VFX, before venturing out as a freelance artist. I’ve now been working for myself for around 4 years. 
How would you define your style? 
Within the realm of typography, I like to think my scope of style is quite broad. I’m drawn to freer, calligraphic brush styles as well as bolder, sans-serif styles. I love black and white, details, pattern, and the impact of large scale typography. 
Where do you draw your inspiration from? 
I love to find inspiration offline – on old book covers, or vinyl sleeves, and hand-painted signs in new places I visit. For pattern inspiration I look to architectural or material surfaces, textures in nature and reflection in water. The history of typography is a wealth of inspiration too : I love the experimental type of the early 20th century and old printing specimens. Contemporary designers whose work I love and am constantly inspired by include Jordan Metcalf, Martina Flor, Alex Trochut and ilovedust.
Can you share one work that is close to your heart and the concept behind it?
My most recent self-titled solo show was held last month in Laguna Beach, California. It was a large scale typographic installation that filled the various walls in the gallery space. The show was made up of four key pieces of text drawn from password forms, wifi-connection error messages and captcha tests:  “Remember Me”, “Re-establishing Lost Connection”, “Prove You’re Human” and five iterations of “OK”. I liked the idea that this language can be so mundane yet when taken out of context, speaks to bigger questions of lived experience – relationships, human connection in the digital age, the desire for legacy and meaning.
Any words of advice for budding creative artists out there? 
The most important thing is creating good work. In the early days: put in the hours, lose sleep, skip parties and make the work that makes you happy. 
Gemma splits her time between advertising commissions, gallery shows, speaking engagements and hosting hand-lettering workshops around the world. Her clients include Adobe, Volcom, Heineken, Kirin Cider, QANTAS, Heinz, Angus and Julia Stone and The New York Times. A number of her projects have been recognised by the New York The Type Directors Club with Awards of Typographic Excellence. In her spare time she travels and draws puke puns on barf bags for the Spew Bag Challenge.
Check out her work on www.gemmaobrien.com  or  

Make It On Mobile: 5 Tips for Drawing Black and White Illustrations in Photoshop Sketch

Place a sheet of paper in front of graphic designer Joe Wilper and he’ll always cover it in illustrations. But during his 9-5 job, he finds branding work where he can integrate his drawing skills to be the most rewarding.

Joe has another side to his creative expression; a side that skews heavily towards realism and leaves us a little bit breathless. When he’s not working on identity projects, he’s creating hyper realistic black and white illustrations that give short glimpses into the secret lives of his subjects. And he’s able to bring those same paper and pencil illustration skills to drawing on his iPad with Photoshop Sketch.

“I was curious if the stylus could truly mimic pencil and paper. I wasn’t prepared for how much fun it would be and how familiar it would feel,” says Joe. “The end result still feels like a drawing I would have done outside of Sketch, but the app gives me the freedom to push the drawings in ways I wouldn’t have normally.”
Joe walks us through his illustration process and shares five tips to create detailed black and white drawings in Photoshop Sketch.
1. Start with Light, Gestural Strokes
Think of drawing in Photoshop Sketch the same way as you do drawing with pencil and paper. I use light lines and broad, gestural strokes to get the base drawing down. Try not to make the drawing too precious at this stage. Keep loose and focus on the overall form, not detail.

2. Keep An Eye on Proportions with the Grid
I tap settings and turn on the grid to help with proportions and to create a more accurate base. I like a larger grid that’s quicker to navigate. Once I’ve got the foundation, I start layering some details into the drawing with a combination of the pencil and eraser tool. I have tendency to start with the eyes. They add a lot of life to the drawing, so I give them extra attention.

3. Add Interest with Background Textures
Adding subtle background textures is a great way to add interest to your black and white illustrations. I found that for this particular piece, a chipboard texture really showcased the highlights in the drawing and created a great overall tone that matched the natural coloration of a raccoon.

4. Layer Shadows with a Larger Brush
You can change the brush size easily in Sketch. I reduce the brush size down to a fine point and work in as much detail as possible. Then I use a larger brush to lightly layer in shadows on top of the detailed sketch. This helps add some depth even in the dark, shaded areas. And because the pencil is pressure sensitive, you have a lot of control over how dark or light those color applications are.
In this drawing, I’ve also used the eraser tool to create some plant life in the background. The soft edges of the eraser coupled with a reduced transparency gives the plants a shallow depth of focus. I’ve gone back over the area with a dark color so that the raccoon remains in the foreground, while the tall grasses are a subtle texture in the background.

5. The Undo Button Can Be a Tool
Another great thing about Sketch: the Undo button. I don’t need to worry about experimenting with the drawing since I can revert back to an earlier iteration if something doesn’t quite work.

Grab free Photoshop Sketch to start illustrating on your iPhone or iPad.

In conversation with Kevin Dart, Creative Director – Chromosphere

Just a few more days to go for MAKE IT scheduled for May 5, 2016 and we are excited. We recently spoke to Kevin Dart, one of the key speakers at the event. Here’s a little sneak peek into the conversation we had:
Tell us a little bit about your background as a creative artist?
I’ve been working in animation as a designer and art director since around 2007 for studios like Cartoon Network, Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks. Some of the projects I’ve been involved in are The Powerpuff Girls, Big Hero Six, Cosmos, Her, and Steven Universe.
How did you get started in this field?
I’ve been interested in art and design for most of my life, and have been doing art digitally since I was in high school. I interned at a local graphic design house during my senior year, but my real “start” was working as a 3D character modeller for a small video game company in Seattle.
How would you define your style?
I think some of the signatures of my style are limited color palettes, bold, graphic shapes, and lots of layered texture. A lot of people get a retro-modern vibe from my illustrations too.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I have countless artistic influences from mid-century designers like Saul Bass & Alvin Lustig to filmmakers like Kubrick and Sergio Leone. Their work has had a huge impact on my approach to art. But when it’s time to work, my main inspiration is always actual stuff from the world. I love using photo reference, and that typically informs the majority of what I do.
Can you share one work that is close to your heart and the concept behind it?
I’m very proud of this recent film and it encapsulates so many things that are near and dear to my heart. The concept behind it was to draw the viewer’s attention to the way our science and technology are inseparably intertwined with the wonders that exist in our natural world. I wanted to try to capture some of the beauty that surrounds us and celebrate the work of scientists who help us understand the world.
Any words of advice for budding creative artists out there?
Make the kind of work that you would like to be getting. Everything you make is an advertisement for your services, so if you do personal work that truly makes you happy, it will be more likely to attract jobs that will also make you happy.
Kevin is the creative director for Chromosphere, a boutique design and animation studio dedicated to making things look awesome. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and baby. His other interests include astrophysics, tacos, and sea creatures.
Check out Kevin’s work on  http://www.kevindart.com and http://www.chromosphere-la.com