Illustrator is NOT just for Illustrators Anymore! SF Bay ILUG


With all of the things going on at Adobe this fall (ie Acrobat XI launch, Create the Web & AdobeEdge tools, Creative Cloud, etc), it is prudent for a Community Manager to keep an eye out for other activities happening out in the community. I had not visited the SF Bay Area Illustrator Adobe User Group (aka SFILUG) in awhile and I got a tip from an Adobe Community Professional that the SF group was hosting something special at their Oct 4th meeting. The folks from Astute Graphics were stopping by and it looks like they have some interesting Toolbar Add-ins for CS6 Illustrator, so I thought I’d drop in and check it out.

Meeting — Preplanning, A Discussion, & Setup

Bay Area Illustrator Group meets at the Adobe SF offices, so I met up with Adobe User Group Manager, Teresa Roberts, in the lobby and helped her check-in folks. We briefly caught up on the User Group happenings; and the group is doing quite well, since the leadership change 2 years ago + securing an Adobe sponsor to help them with their meetings. Thanks Terry Hemphill (Adobe Illustrator Product Mgr).

Teresa stressed that she was looking to expand the membership of her user group and create an awareness that: “Illustrator is NOT just for Illustrators, anymore”. Lots of people use Illustrator these days: Marketing/Print folks, Web Designers, some Mobile App builders, Product Development, traditional art designers, and also… Cartographers? Teresa is always seeking innovative speakers from different disciplines to come speak at her User Group.  Indeed, Illustrator is one of those rare Adobe products that touches across a lot of Adobe’s creative communities. It is important to note that Teresa also has a co-manager: Terry McGlone who is a big help with the logistics at these meetings!

Happy San Francisco Bay ILUGer sporting the new “Ai” button


Attendees roll in: 

We had 44+ in attendance; 80+ RSVPs, typical for a free event…those other 40 really missed-out though!

First of the Attendees to sign-in: noted author Sharon Steuer!  Sharon has always been one of the Bay Area ILUG core members and she’s quite generous over the years to the User Group with her books. Thank You Sharon — her latest CS6 book. After catching up with Sharon, I moved over to the main room set up the Adobe swag table: stickers, t-shirts, buttons, pens etc. The new Illustrator buttons were a big hit!  Several SF Bay ILUGers were sporting their new buttons! Adobe Community Team showed off a couple of new T-shirts too!  There were also free pizza, a 12 mo Creative Cloud prize, CS6 Design Standard prize + T-shirts and swag from Adobe.

Astute Graphics:

I had a chance to chat briefly with the speaker for the evening, Nicholas van der Walle (AG founder & evangelist) before his talk. I quickly learned, judging by the accent, that AG is based out of the UK and San Francisco was the 2nd stop of their USA tour. Nick mentioned that he first likes to see what types of folks in attendance and then gage the types of techniques they are using; then show of those same techniques with Astute Graphics tools in the demo. In other words, it is less about showing off the tools and more about learning about WHO is coming to the event and HOW they use Illustrator. Good Approach!Bay Area ILUG is a quiet group as Nick found out, but he did manage to tease some info out of the audience. SFILUG consists of lots of designer/freelancers; not too many agencies folks/art directors…..and a Cartographer? Interesting.

Nick led off the discussion with a question:

Nicholas van der Walle from Astute Graphics

Nicholas van der Walle from Astute Graphics

How would YOU render this shape below? — The Saunder’s Leaf

The Bay Area ILUGers came up with ALL kinds of answers–lots of discussion….AND then “All was revealed” at the end. Nick showed how he did it with the new CS6 Vector-Scribe tool add-in to the Illustrator tool bar. Be sure to catch-up with Nick via the Astute Graphics Blog, Twitter, and Facebook page.

Astute Graphics also has a whole list of short 4min-15min tutorials about their different tool-sets…. Here is link to them and the image below links to one of the videos I liked–Path Scribe which looks very useful in rendering vectors from a sketch.


Video About Path Scribe Tool

 Thank You Nick! I will be seeing you again at the Adobe Illustrator Group of LA (AILA) next week. I promise I won’t spoil your “Saunder’s Surprise”


Lastly, Astute Graphics is a partner of Adobe, so I was not surprised to see Adobe folks in attendance at the meeting: Terry Hemphill (Project Mgr Illustrator), Brenda Sutherland (Adobe Customer Engagement), Anubhav Rotahgi (Sr. PM for Illustrator), and Rajesh Budhiraja (Sr engineering manager for Illustrator). At a time, when Adobe is remaking itself, it was nice to see that one of Adobe’s Product Teams is still very much connected/committed to their community. Of course there’s always more work to do in this area; and, it is a bigger problem to solve than most people realize.  Note to User Group Mgrs: It is important to cultivate your contacts within Adobe Product Teams as well as staying connected to the Adobe Community Team 😉

One Response to Illustrator is NOT just for Illustrators Anymore! SF Bay ILUG

  1. Thanks for the post, Aaron! It was a real pleasure to present at Adobe’s wonderful SF offices. And looking forward to the second meeting at the LA user group 9 October 2012