Design inspires us all, and you never know where it might take you.
Where Are They Now? Catching Up With Veteran Tuts+ Authors
Today, we’ll catch up with five amazing authors from ThemeKeeper Tuts+. In celebration of ten years of Design & Illustration tutorials here on the site, we’re looking into their first tutorials, original inspirations, and recent design adventures.
How did it all start for them? Let’s find out.
ThemeKeeper Tuts+ Profile: Fabio Sasso
The gatekeeper to our inspiration, Abduzeedo may have been the first child of Fabio Sasso, but Fabio’s a proud papa now. His tutorials have helped our readers for years with their brilliant effects and helpful tips, and we’re happy to catch up today with the Brazilian designer.
See where it all began. Check out his first tutorial in 2007.
Here’s what he had to say on how he got into design:
I’ve always loved to draw and make things. Then, when I got my first
computer I was completely fascinated by it, especially after I
discovered some old graphic design software.
Originally from Brazil, Fabio used his own hurdles with language to encourage him to share his talents.
The hard thing for me was to
learn. Everything was in English which I didn’t speak and it was very
hard to find books. I think that was what made me want to
share the things I learned.
He now works for Google while still keeping up with ABDZ. And recently, there was another new addition to Fabio’s life.
I’ve just become a father. So now I am
trying to raise a little boy. I think that is, for sure, my biggest and
From light painting to text effects and more, Fabio has shared countless inspiring art, graphic design, and tutorials with us all. One of his earliest lessons on Tuts+ includes this Photoshop Vintage Collage that uses the Pen Tool, simple brush textures and more for a retro design.
Here’s what he had to say on what kind of design excites him now.
I am really into ways to improve
the communication between designers and engineers.
I think, thanks to the internet and sites like Tuts+, we all
have access to excellent content that helps us become better at what we
do, however when working with other people there are different social
aspects that are much more subtle and hard to learn than technical
skills. That is what really excites me today.
Congrats on the little one, Fabio, and we look forward to what the two of you have to come! Thanks for reminding us to be inspired by others every day.
Get inspired by Fabio Sasso’s lessons! Find him under Abduzeedo on social media.
And feel free to check out more of his tutorials on ThemeKeeper Tuts+:
EffectsSeriously Cool Photoshop Explosion EffectFabio Sasso
DesigningCreating A Fantastic Fantasy Night Sky In PhotoshopFabio Sasso
ThemeKeeper Tuts+ Profile: Mary Winkler
Vector art is tricky, but then there are artists that make it look easy. Mary Winkler is one of them. With a specialty for colorful Kawaii art, Mary’s tutorials have introduced aspiring artists to new cultures and designs.
See where it all began. Check out her first tutorial in 2013.
Here’s what she had to say on why she got into teaching design:
was in between gigs when I started teaching online. Soon it became most
of what I did for 3 years. I loved breaking down current
design trends or my own design styles so others could understand how
something could be made. It’s come in handy these days when writing or
illustrating toy instructions.
These days she works for Kahootz Toys as an illustrator. She says:
amazing job with an amazing team. I design for toy
packaging, create instructions, and create concept art for toys.
Mary’s Articles & Tutorials
Apart from her whimsical tutorials and free resources, Mary has also handed us the formulas to many important aspects of design and design software.
Catch up on the essentials with her A to Z learning guides.
Or learn about important Careers in Design & Illustration with these helpful articles.
CareersSo You Want to Be a Fashion Illustrator?Mary Winkler
CareersHow to Become an Art DirectorMary Winkler
On what excites her now:
September 2016 I’ve worked in-house at Kahootz Toys. I’m
sort of plugged into toys these days, especially getting inspired by
those from my childhood or a generation before me. There’s something so
rad about illustration in the toy industry in the 70s and 80s. It’s so cool to be able to share my
illustrations with a new generation in a way I didn’t think was possible.
Inviting and friendly, her teaching style gives readers room to experiment, leading to outcomes that are truly magical.
Get inspired by Mary’s lessons! Check out more of her tutorials on ThemeKeeper Tuts+:
IllustrationHow to Create a Beauty-Inspired Illustration in Adobe IllustratorMary Winkler
PatternsHow to Use and Edit Vector Stock Patterns in Adobe IllustratorMary Winkler
ThemeKeeper Tuts+ Profile: Simona Pfreundner
Passionate people are the best teachers. Independent graphic designer Simona Pfreundner teaches students how to master essential tools and more in Adobe Illustrator.
See where it all began. Check out her first tutorial in 2008.
Here’s what inspired her to get into design:
As the cliche goes, I have always been drawing. Originally I wanted to study fine arts. As life went on, I
ended up studying graphic design.
During my courses, often students were
a bit behind and the teachers asked us all
to help with struggling students. It was
then that one of the teachers approached me and mentioned that I might
consider a teaching career. I wasn’t ready then—too eager to work as a
graphic designer, but when I met Sean Hodge, I knew vectortuts would become the
place to offer my teaching skills.
Now, Simona works as a freelance graphic designer who continues to teach students online. Her passion shows in her tutorials as well as her love for the program.
I have a small blog called Vectortwist where I offer free tutorials on Adobe Illustrator, my
favorite software for creating illustrations!
Simona’s Tutorials & Courses
Add Simona’s amazing resources and lessons to your collection.
Design an awesome Custom Skin for your laptop. Or explore fun illustration and 3D styles with these tutorials:
IllustrationHow to Create a Stylized Underwater SceneSimona Pfreundner
IllustrationCreate a Checkered 3D Chess Figure SceneSimona Pfreundner
One important tip from Simona? Practice makes perfect. She says:
I’ve always been an admirer of illustrations, so I try to make it a daily task to sketch, doodle and
Great advice, Simona! Follow along with her on social media for more great tips.
And get inspired by Simona’s lessons! Check out her tutorials on ThemeKeeper Tuts+:
IllustrationHow to Create a Medieval Paper ScrollSimona Pfreundner
Tools & TipsIllustrator’s Blend Tool: A Comprehensive GuideSimona Pfreundner
ThemeKeeper Tuts+ Profile: Jesse Hora Dot Com
Murals, meet your master. Jesse Hora’s wicked illustrative skills will make you want to pick up a pen again. He shared his passion for hand lettering with us and created easy-to-follow Illustrator tutorials.
See where it all began. Check out one of his earliest tutorials from 2009.
For Jesse, design hits close to home.
I come from a lineage of independent, free-spirited, creative people.
up in a small lake town, the mix of rural and beachy
vibes ingrained a blue collar creativity within me. Having
the opportunity to help and share with other creatives and designers just
Currently Jesse works for MAKE, a creative studio with a talented team of designers.
From large-scale art installations to directing brand campaigns we always have lots of
At the center of his tutorials is a focus on basic Illustrator tools and functions.
Create a vector trace from a photo, for instance.
Or master hand lettering techniques with these tutorials.
Text EffectsLearn to Create a Variety of Script LetteringJesse Hora Dot Com
DesigningCreate a Variety of 3D Lettering Effects for Poster DesignJesse Hora Dot Com
But Illustrator wasn’t his only love.
has always been the spice of life for me creatively. So diving deep
into a plethora of projects, and learning new nuisances of each, keeps
We think so too! Follow along with him on social media for more incredible inspiration.
And check out more of his tutorials on ThemeKeeper Tuts+:
IllustrationMake a Fun Holiday Reindeer IllustrationJesse Hora Dot Com
DesigningHow to Create a Vector Texture From ScratchJesse Hora Dot Com
ThemeKeeper Tuts+ Profile: Martin Perhiniak
Certified Adobe Expert Martin Perhiniak was voted one of Adobe’s top 10 instructors around the world. His tutorials have introduced designers of all levels to new and exciting features of some of their favorite software.
See where it all began. Check out one of his earliest tutorials from 2010.
Here’s an inside look into his greatest inspiration:
My greatest inspiration has always been nature.
Nothing can beat the variety of shapes, colors and textures of our planet.
And like many of our authors, he also enjoys helping others. From design tips to photography and more, Martin has always enjoyed teaching:
Teaching came quite
naturally to me from a very young age I loved showing people how to
Getting my first Adobe Certified Expert qualifications propelled me towards teaching even more. Tuts+
was a great platform to establish myself as an international speaker
and instructor, for which I’m still very
Today, Martin continues to teach the world about design. He has worked with major companies like Google, Disney, and Cartoon Network and tackles a variety of design and illustration projects.
Learn essential tips and tricks from this helpful instructor to feel more confident.
Try a fun Cinemagraph tutorial. Or check out Martin’s comprehensive guides on video and color:
Tools & TipsComprehensive Guide to Color Settings, Color Profiles and ProofingMartin Perhiniak
Tools & TipsComprehensive Guide to Working With Video in Photoshop: 3D AnimationsMartin Perhiniak
And now he’s on YouTube! Exploring new ways to reach his audience, Martin performs regular live streams on YouTube.
My channel is playing an important role
in reaching people who are interested in graphic design. Recently
I started doing Live Streams on YouTube, which is an exciting new way
of teaching. Hundreds of viewers are attending and chatting
with me. I’m planning to keep sharing my knowledge and experience with people from around the world.
Need some inspiration? Learn more about Martin’s creative journey through his channel.
And check out more of his tutorials on ThemeKeeper Tuts+:
Graphic DesignComprehensive Guide to Color in Adobe Photoshop – Spot ColorsMartin Perhiniak
Tools & Tips10 Things You Need to Know About Smart Objects in PhotoshopMartin Perhiniak
Here’s a huge thank you to all the authors for sharing your stories with us. We’re excited to bring more helpful content to our readers for more years to come!
Celebrate design! To see more from these authors, visit their portfolios below: