CreativePro Conference Speaker Spotlight: Sharon Steuer, the Zen Artist

We’ve assembled a dream team roster of Photoshop and Illustrator gurus, and thought you’d like get to know what makes them tick.

Welcome to our new series of posts called Speaker Spotlight, designed to highlight each of our upcoming CreativePro Conference speakers. We’ve assembled a dream team roster of Photoshop and Illustrator gurus, and thought you’d like get to know what makes them tick, why they’re passionate about what they do, and what you can expect to learn from them at the conference. (Our previous Speaker Spotlight was on Keith Gilbert.)

The subject of this Speaker Spotlight is Sharon Steuer.

Sharon was born in what’s now Soho in New York, moved up to Connecticut for awhile, went to college in New England, went back to New Haven, and has now planted roots in San Francisco.

Sharon-Steuer-Photoshop-Illustrator-ArtistFor more than three decades, artist and author Sharon Steuer has explored the merging of traditional and digital painting, drawing, printmaking and collage. Sharon is the author of numerous books, video courses, and articles including fourteen editions of The Adobe Illustrator WOW! Book series (which three times received the Benjamin Franklin award for “best computer book”), Creative Thinking in Photoshop, “Artistic Painting” courses at, and frequent posts for us,

The Sharon Steuer File

Sharon never even got a chance to touch a computer until a few years after graduating from college. When she moved to New Haven to continue her art studies at Yale, a search for employment led her to be recommended as a staff artist/illustrator for the first educational start-up software company, Compu-Teach. Most of the programmers were Yale students, and she was hired as one of three professional staff artists. It was a perfect match, and Sharon quickly found that the intellectual part of her mind loved to figure out the best way to create artwork out of the basic IBM PC and Apple-IIs used to create the software.

First job: In high school, I took a job at the neighborhood jewelry store. Learned basic soldering, engraving, and did a lot of polishing.

Lefty or Righty? Rightly although I always wished I was a Lefty because it seems so much more artistic and romantic.

Favorite website: Can I say, CreativePro? Seriously though, it’s the only one I tend to visit on a regular basis. Otherwise, I tend to explore more. I really make the effort to limit my time spent on the internet so when I am surfing it is typically for research.

Favorite movie: Wizard of Oz—what other movie could I have watched 40 plus times and still love it?

Favorite TV show: Slings and Arrows – great mix of snarky humor and creativity.

How many cell phones have you broken? Believe it or not, I haven’t broken any cell phones. I had the audio go on my current, ancient iPhone 4s and I had it repaired. I really like to minimize my tech upgrades (and waste, in general) but I must admit I am eyeing the new little iPhone SE.

At 6:00 a.m. I am usually: asleep.

If you could only use one piece of software for the rest of your life what would it be? Not fair. I would need to create a piece of software that would keep my artwork on the screen but would integrate Ai, Ps & Id tools as I needed them. 

What motivates you to do what you do? I love the interconnection between art and technology. I have cobbled together a living by doing various degrees of teaching, writing and doing. Teaching led to articles, articles led to chapters, chapters led to books, and books led to videos. I absolutely love finding new ways to move back and forth between traditional and digital tools. Technology is constantly evolving so how I interact with that technology professionally constantly evolves.

What’s you favorite part of speaking at conferences? I really enjoy inspiring people to discover new ways they can use the computer to generate creative ideas. All the software programs out there are just tools—extraordinary tools but tools nonetheless. You don’t need to wait to be creative until you understand the software, it’s actually the other way around—learn with necessity, learn the tools you need to get your project done or to explore a creative idea. Even though I have been doing this for a long time, I always love attending other speakers’ sessions—we all develop different ways of approaching each task at hand. It’s fun to see how someone else would look at and tackle a project. All the software these days is so incredibly complex that there are infinite ways to do everything, so being open to new/alternative ways of approaching problems, can turn into our future and inspiration.

Where you can find her: Creating art or being an activist for arts. San Francisco’s cultural diversity and community are being threatened so she and a friend started the Cultural Space Coalition to help connect diverse groups affected by this reality. You can find Sharon at these special gatherings, enjoying her daily yoga practices, at her painting studio in the Mission district, or who knows, you may even spot her secretly drawing portraits if you ride the public transit. And, as you may have guessed you can also see Sharon at this year’s CreativePro Conference. Illustrator users, beginners to advanced, will love Sharon’s session Illustrator WOW! Drawing, Painting, and Coloring Tips and Techniques as she focuses on showing ways to use Adobe Illustrator outside of the box to express creativity. In the Creative Thinking in Photoshop: Flexible Workflow Strategies and Solutions session, Sharon will demonstrate how to protect your originals and create a safe work environment so you can easily generate lots of ideas and get a lot of work done. The goal is to make users feel empowered to experiment so they can grow and learn to take creative risks. 

A Photoshop vs. Illustrator Tip from Sharon: Hide Edges differences in Illustrator and Photoshop

In Illustrator and Photoshop, pressing Command+H/CTRL+H hides the edges of active selections so that you can work on the selected items without the distraction of seeing path edges or “marching ants”. However, even though Hide Edges is a toggle in both (it’s either on or off with the same shortcut or command), it works differently in each app.

In Photoshop, the shortcut (also via View > Show) will Hide Selection Edges for the current selection. Once you drop the selection (click outside or Command+D/CTRL+D), when you make a new selection, you’ll  see your edges again. Just get in the habit of simply pressing Command+H/CTRL+H whenever you want to hide edges for a selection.

In Illustrator, Command+H/CTRL+H (View > Hide Edges) is a sticky toggle for your current open document and it stays in place until you toggle it off with Show Edges. You can even turn it on without anything selected. And although you’ll still see selection edges when you select an item with the Selection tool, edges will remain hidden with the Direct Selection tool. Furthermore, the state of this toggle is saved with your file! That means, if it’s on when you save and close, it will be that way when you reopen the file. So as a best practice, if you use Hide Edges in Illustrator, make sure to un-hide edges as soon as you’re done working on the item(s). And if you aren’t seeing expected selection behavior in your file—before you re-start the app thinking something is wrong—check to see if Hide Edges is enabled.

Where you can find Sharon on the Web


Social Profiles:




Instagram: @SharonSteuer


Register today for the CreativePro Conference!

Don’t miss out on a great show and a great early bird deal: Get $100 off registration now through May 16th

We’ll see you in Minneapolis, Jul 10-13th



Posted on: April 12, 2016

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