GIVEAWAY: Claudia Pearson + Chronicle Books

Hello everyone!!! Sorry for the radio silence on our end – we’ve been very busy planning fun things, hosting our swaps, and reaching out to new artists. Hopefully in the coming months we’ll be able to kick it up a notch. It is our 2nd birthday in April, and we could not be more excited! In honor of Ten Paces turning two we are honored to partner with the amazing Chronicle Books to give some presents away to YOU, our readers!

The first of our giveaways is an amazing book by Claudia Pearson! “Drawing Food” is a drawing journal for food lovers, this guided sketchbook “invites users to draw—and thereby appreciate—delicious and wholesome food every season of the year”. The first half of the book has a bunch of super fun drawing techniques and exercises to hone your food-drawing skills, and second half becomes a diary of your favorite meals, foods, utensils, and recipes! If you thought instagraming your food was fun, imagine how cherished your illustrations will be!

If you’re not familiar with the work of Claudia Pearson already take a moment to visit her website, or shop. Claudia is known in recent years for her beautiful food drawings which have been applied to everything from stationery and t-shits, to tote bags and kitchen towels! Outside of dominating Pinterest boards world-wide, Claudia has done illustration work for the New York Times, The New Yorker, Elle, and has multiple book publications under her belt! Her shop is bursting with amazing foodie themed art – I have my eye on her new Market Tote!

Entering this contest is easy as pie (see what I did there?), all you have to do is use our fine rafflecoptor app below and your name is thrown into the digital hat! Additional entries can be made by sharing your food drawings with us! We’ll pick our favorites for the blog – upload your pics to twitter or instagram with the hashtag #tenpacesdrawingfood for additional chances to win! You can follow my food drawing adventure on the blog starting tomorrow :) I’m going to try and use the journal every day to doodle some dishes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*If the app doesn’t show up right away, refresh your browser! Happy entering!

MICA + Ten Paces

Ten Paces and Draw was proud to be invited back for our second annual swap with Maryland Institute College of Art! We gathered 20 of our regular contributors to pair with 20 junior illustration students in Allan Comport’s class to work on the theme #HASHTAG.

Each artist created a sketch based on the hashtag of his or her choice. We paired each student with a working illustrator, and here’s the stellar results! On February 14th, Rachel Dougherty, Marissa Lanterman, and Kate Haberer joined Allan’s class for discussion and critique of the work. The swap was a smash hit, with super work from students and illustrators alike.

Many thanks to Allan and his students, and Beth Pecora, his teacher’s assistant, for being such a great group to work with and helping to create such an awesome swap! And many more thanks to our amazing contributors, for putting in the time to blow the minds of a swell crop of art students!

Process: Jon Suguiyama

Hey there! Here’s a tutorial for a illustration I did for Bottleneck Gallery. The theme was “Alternate Endings” so I chose one of my favorite movies. I’ll try to make this tutorial very informative/educational/explanatory based on techniques I use and if you have any questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail:

1. Well, everything starts with an idea. I had this one in mind for years since I’m a big Akira fan and Tetsuo is my favorite character. I’ve always wanted the movie to end in some other way with Tetsuo beating the hell out of Kaneda.

After several composition studies and sketching I ended up with this one. I usually sketch directly into photoshop, 72 dpi to make things faster, no zooming, just doodling around till I get a nice composition, already in the final proportions so I can work with the canvas lines and forces to make the drawing itself stronger, not just something that looks cropped somehow. I tried to focus on the character and just suggest what’s going on on the scene. You should consider not to deliver everything right away – that makes the illustration more interesting.

2. Then I enhance the image resolution (300dpi for this one) – I’m not using the previous linework, just as a guide, so it’s ok for it to look blurry and all.

I add a light gray layer on the bottom to start working with colors. I figured it is better to work over gray tones because it is kinda neutral: not too cold or too hot and white makes colors looks lighter or darker depending on their hue/values. If my concern was the form or proportions or the piece I’m working on was gigantic, it would be better to use some kind of middle tone green. (That’s a technique people like Leonardo used to rely on when painting huge stuff like the Cappella Sistina on affresco) but that wasn’t the case.

I picked some random purple/blue tones to make the shadows and see if there aren’t adjustments to be made. For me, value is the second most important thing in an illustration – if you do it right, things gets a lot easier in the rest of the process.

After that, I started making some flats for the skin tones (on a layer on top of the value layer and below the linework).

3. So I started making my color palette with my base colors. I usually leave the palette somewhere easy for me to pick with a color picker, on the topmost layer, somewhere that it will not get in my way, in this case, on the bottom of the drawing that will be the last thing I’ll be working on. There are lots of clever ways of doing it, but that’s just the way I do things.

Some compositional clouds on the background and some more flats, each one on a separate layer, ok? That way, I can use these layers as clipping masks to make painting easier.

4. Next, I set a green+blue gradient to the background (layer mode:vivid light) just to create a mood: light on top and the bottom kinda foggy. That will help me set all the other colors right with a nice contrast palette. Then I start to work on the face midtones with the colors I’ve chosen before: a nice vivid bright almost pinky red for the more blood-irrigated areas and a lighter skin tone for highlights – all that on top of the base skin tone, clipped.

5. A flat for the hair, some more detail and linework to the face. I’m going to repeat this whole process to all other areas. I use the main base flat as a clipping mask and paint on other clipped layers right on top – remember: each color on a separate layer so it is easier to make adjustments, erase stuff and play with oppacity to get great nuances.
I’m using some custom airbrushes and default photoshop round brushes with oppacity set to pen pressure.

I try to keep my linework layer on the top so you can switch it on and off to see how things are going and sometimes I just move layers to the top, specially for lifework.

6. So it’s shading time! I use the same purple tones I’ve used before for value in layer mode: hard light.

Then you ask me: Why purple? Well, It looks great and it actually makes sense for daylight shadows. The sky is blue and acts like a huge light filter/reflector – I just use purple that is some kind of warmer blue. Works every time!

7. I just felt that the whole illustration wasn’t warm enough so I used a yellow layer on top of everything (layer mode: soft light with reaaaaally low oppacity). You get the feel.

And notice how my sketch/linework layer is still there even when I’m redoing everything.

8. So, working on the cape just adding a darker red and then the same purple shadows. Since there’s this heavy sunlight on the character, I had to make some reflected light on his face.
I have also used some texture here with layer mode set to Overlay and with a layer mask to mask some of the texture I don’t want to show.
Also, to simulate the light fabric I duplicated the shadow layer and set it to Exclusion on top of the other layers making everything smoother and lighter.

The arms work like the face except for some highlights from the backlight. The secret is putting that almost pinky reddish tone, add some light skin tone then shadow it really hard close to that backlight. It feels very natural.

9. Just repeat the same process…

10 + 11 … over and over again making sure you don’t miss the reflected light, shadows and respecting the materials things are made of. It’s okay to use reference images for that or even simulate the environment and take some photos to use as guides for color, light and shadow.
It’s a time consuming process but it’s worth it so things don’t look all made of plastic or something.

12. Notice the color palette down there, now with tons of nice colors. Use it so you don’t have to keep switching layers on and off and messing with opacity.

Sometimes I just switch the whole background off to see if the edges are okay, that kinda simulates a studio shot and it’s easier to understand light without the interference of the background.

13. And here’s the final image. The debris where pretty easy to make, I just kept copying and pasting stuff then making random lines with a really small brush making these shatter patterns, added some texture and some atmospheric perspective. The burnt hole in the shirt was okay to do since that was already in my clipping mask, blood was made using some watercolor brushes and playing around with layer modes for this dry blood look on fabric. I have also enhanced the yellow soft light layer on top and added a dark blue layer set to soft light to make darker things still dark.

Phew! That’s all I could remember telling you guys. I hope you have enjoyed the tutorial and hopefully learned something with it to improve as an artist!

Again, if you have some questions, doubts, or just wanna chat, feel free to send me an e-mail:


Unsolicited Advice: The Whole Point

Unsolicited Advice from Adam J. Kurtz

Maria asked:   I major in graphic design right now and the more I do it the more I understand that design is what I do best. However, while I know that my ‘design sense’ or what have you is on point (yup), I know that I have so much to learn in the realm of techniques/coding/etc. etc.


Something I’ve been asking myself lately that I’m asking you now is:
How do you find a balance between doing work that you love that is totally ~you~ but still pay attention to other design(ers) and learn new processes/techniques WITHOUT just becoming a copy-paste designer?


Like, there’s design I am attracted to that I would like to be able to make, but then if I make it, am I just copying what I see and not really contributing to the ‘greater good’ of design (whatever THAT means)? Am I thinking about it too much? I just don’t want to be puking out what everyone else is doing, you know? It’s like sometimes I battle between completely ignoring what everyone else is doing or looking at others for inspiration and trying to reach the heights that (I feel) they have reached. Maybe this is okay because I am still learning.

My first reaction to this question when you sent it (over a month ago, I should add) was “omg omg omg omg fuck what do i even say.” It’s important that I own up to that reaction, because this is such a real, honest, legitimate question, and one that we basically all face. But you’re right. It is really hard to know what you should be doing, and the answer is even worse: Trust your instincts.

It is awesome that you know what you love doing. Graphic design is a tough one, because it’s art but its beauty is in its subtlety, and its perfection is often marked by invisibility, making the whole thing pretty hard to wrap your brain around. But it sounds like you also know the truth. Graphic designers have a voice just as much as illustrators, photographers, or any other type of art-maker or artist.

Trusting your instincts is hard when you aren’t sure what they are. You’re already ahead of the game if you know you really love design and are good at it. Add bonus points for knowing you have a lot to learn (because there’s ALWAYS something new to learn). Then sprinkle some more points for struggling with authenticity, originality, and care for the “greater good.” You’ve got points coming out your ears at this point. And that’s the actual point.

Sit down with a pencil and paper, and see if you can write a list of the things that matter to you. Do you want to be a “famous” designer? Do you want to work on “selling things” or “making things” or just “making” without the “things” part even defined? Great design is when the information and hierarchy and message is just all so perfect that it seems as if it all just fell that way. Great design is design that feels innate. Great design appeals to everyone, and sure, other designers like to know who made what, but the average person is just looking for the off ramp or their stop on the subway or the right hospital room to deliver balloons to.

It’s good to want to do your own thing, and good to not want to be “puking” out work. But also sometimes puke is exactly what you put into yourself in the first place. Puke is extra. Am I getting too metaphorical with body waste here? I did start this whole response with “HOOOOOOLY SHIT” before editing for digestibility. What’s all this food talk? Am I just hungry? The truth is, critical thinking matters. Critique your own work. Critique your process. But sometimes, take a step back and stare at the tiny baby you have just birthed and SMILE AT HIS DOPEY BABY FACE BECAUSE HE IS OF YOUR FLESH AND HE IS ADORABLE.

Think smarter and harder, but not too hard. Take a break but not just for coffee or a cigarette, take a break for you. Take ten minutes on the front stoop to look at dirt or trash or count steps or count freckles or stare at the clouds or stare at the sun (but not for too long) or just take a bunch of really deep breaths. And then get back to work, making, selling, crafting, coding, or doing, whatever it is that makes you feel happy. Bonus points if you get a paycheck.

Let’s talk about art, design & whatever “real life” is…

If you are in need of somewhat-unsolicited advice, you can email or ask right here! Your question may be answered in a future blog post, and if chosen, you’ll receive a surprise in the mail from me too!


Who is Adam J. Kurtz?

Adam claims to be a “graphic artist & media designer,” but that could mean basically anything. He graduated from UMBC with a degree in Graphic Design in May 2009, and has worked for some awesome clients since – but you’ll probably know Adam best from the internet (he’s all over it). He runs a killer blog, shop, and you can check out his portfolio here. If that wasn’t enough you can follow him on flickrinstagram too. He didn’t write this bio, but I did edit it. Oh, oops.

Downton Abbey

In honor of Downton’s 3rd season coming up, here are some sweet, sweet Character Redesigns!

Marisa Seguin illustrated the best character of them all- the estate Downton Abbey of course!

GAH! the terrible, terrible judgement of Mr. Carson! Rachel Dougherty nailed that expression.

Oh, Miss Edith, step out of the shadow behind Mary and find a respectable (maybe younger?) man! by Levi Hastings!

Cora and her enormously fabulous fancy hat! by Emily Balsley!

Caleb Morris’s rendition of Mr. Carson: Captain of Downton.

to wrap it up, here’s Liz Meyer’s simply perfect portrayal of the three sisters.

New redesigns to be posted soon!

Gift Guide: Erica Sirotich

  1. Penguin Skittles, $19.50, Muji
  2. Sou Sou Shoes, $69.90, Sou Sou
  3. The Iron Giant illustrated by Laura Carlin, $13.59, Amazon
  4. Stacking Crocs, $36.00, Rare Device
  5. Sunprint Kit, $7.50, Paxton Gate
  6. Dinosaur Shadow Puppets, $18.00 (Set of 10), My Sweet Muffin
  7. Donna Wilson Caterpillar Scarf, £36.50, Donna Wilson
  8. Robot Pillow, $33.00, Fawn & Forest
  9. Koma Spinning Tops, $8.50 ea, Rare Device

Gift Guide: Olivia Mew

  1. 2013 Risograph Calendar, $18 + S/H, Paper Pusher
  2. Work Station Calendar, $12 + S/H, Field Notes Brand
  3. Tea Towel Calendar, $22 + S/H, Meera Lee Patel
  4. Illustrated Calendar, $36 +S/H, The Indigo Bunting
  5. Antoinette Calendar, $20 + S/H, Rifle Paper Co.
  6. Annual Vol. 7 Weekly Planner, $18 + S/H, Little Otsu

Screen to Screens: Segment Three

Screen to Screens is a collaboration between Ten Paces and Masthead Print Studio. Each member of this screenprinting studio will provide a short tutorial on how get that lovely artwork of yours into a delicious screenprint. You can learn more about this Philly-based studio/gallery here. Below is our third post that gives you an insight into some of JP Flexner’sprocess. ____________________________________________________________________

Teenagers From Mars // by JP Flexner

JP Flexner is a freelance illustrator, printmaker and one of the best-known working artists of the punk rock subculture in which he has been immersed since his childhood. You can see some of his work here. He lives with his lovely wife, Kristen, their fat, overly affectionate dog Mira and a cat named Fritz, who is without a doubt the worst design intern ever! JP also plays drums in a Philadelphia based punk rock band called Ex Friends. They have a new-ish 7 inch vinyl EP out now and a new EP on the way in January 2013.


Oh hey there Ten Paces Reader. How are you? You look nice. Glad you could make it. Why are you so upset, what happened?!?! Ohhhh right. You got yelled at by Shawn Hileman because the files you sent him to print were not “set up properly” and didn’t include any “trapping” so it was a HUGE pain in the ass for him to pull properly. To be honest, I think I’m going to have to take his side on this one. But hey, lets learn how to do this right so that doesn’t happen again, okay? :)

To show you how to make illustrations that function well as screen prints, I am going to take you through some of my own illustration process, specifically the parts of that process which are informed by and related to screen printing. If you are a working professional artist, you will inevitably have to prepare your artwork to be screen printed for apparel, home goods, record packaging, or some other product on the consumer food chain.

Before we talk shop, the print I made for this demonstration was created for a group print making show at Masthead Print Studio & Gallery called Screen Fiends. The show was a tribute to the music of the band The Misfits. I chose to make a print about the song “Teenagers From Mars.” Why don’t you go ahead and put this song on nice and loud before reading any further. I’ll wait here.


I knew from the beginning of the process that I would be screen printing this illustration. I decided that it would be a smaller print, about 12”x18” or so, and would be just 1-2 colors, black with a loud neon accent color. My concept for this print was to make an illustration depicting a couple of New Jersey suburban punks (Misfits are from Jersey) painting “WE DON’T CARE” on a wall with some kind of martian interaction going on. You can see in the image below that I have loosely thumbed out a few variations on that concept.

Page of thumbnail sketches, working out the concept

After selecting one of the concept sketches, I scanned the page and printed the sketch at a 2:1 scale and drew in a few more loose ends before breaking out the tracing denril.

The sketch picked from the image above reprinted larger with a few more modifications.

This is the second pencil drawing, slightly larger than the one before traced right on top of the previous version.

Final pencil art, drawn half-scale to the final print.

I blew up that final pencil drawing one last time to a 1:1 scale with the print size. This is the size at which I created the final inked illustration (Shown Below). The materials I used here are; 3mil 14”x17” Denril, Permanent Black Staedtler Lumicolor markers (of varied weights, but mostly “F”).

Final ink art scan. Drawn at a 1:1 scale with the final output.

Before we proceed from here I want to address a very important point. Not all illustration styles can effectively be screen printed by way of the process I’m showing you.  There are many types of screen prints; the method I am using for this print relies on drawn lines in my illustration functioning as the “Key Layer”, “trapping” in the layer of color below it. It is an additive color process, almost always printed light to dark. Therefore it tends to work best for styles of illustration that rely on drawn or vectored line art- NOT fake-paper textured styles or wacom painted “watercolor” renderings. If you have a painterly style or rely on photo-realistic elements or gradients or digital faux textures to create your work you may want to look into the four-color process method of screen printing, which relies on fine, overprinted halftones to replicate virtually an infinite amount of hues and values with just Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink (on white paper). Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about how to properly reproduce that ink drawing I spent hours on WITHOUT the Adobe Illustrator Live-Trace tool making it look like total and utter shit.

Photo of final ink art and a large format scanner. (…and the corner of a Green Day record?)

I scanned my original art on a large format scanner at 1200dpi one layer at a time. (I only scanned one layer here since I’m creating the green in Adobe Illustrator.) In Photoshop, I placed that raw scan into a 600dpi art board that is exactly twice the dimensions (200%) of the final output size. In this file I did all of my tweaking to the image to get it ready to live trace in Illustrator… (Grayscale, drop levels, threshold, whatever.) I saved that 2:1 scale file as a flat .PSD which I then opened in Adobe Illustrator.

Scanning at 1200dpi in Photoshop

Once open in Illustrator, I grabbed the image with the solid arrow, clicked the drop-down arrow next to live trace (in the control panel) and selected  “One Color Logo”. Don’t ask me why, but this has always yielded the best results for me for this kind of artwork (provided I’m working at a 2:1 scale anyways). Once done tracing I hit “expand” and scaled the vector art down 50% to its output size. Because I scanned and traced my original inked illustration at 200% (the size at which I eventually printed it) I was able to sufficiently mitigate the potential for “Adobe vector vomit” from my final piece. Combined with high mesh screens and a nice proper burn, this allowed me to ensure a perfect line quality in all of my screen prints, while not having to compromise on virtually any details within the artwork.

Live tracing my scanned and tweaked ink art at 2:1 scale, shrinking it 50% after expanding the live trace back down to the print size to retain detail and avoid vector vomit.

Now with vector line art expanded and scaled to its output size, I added my second color layer in Adobe Illustrator using the pen tool to carefully vectored in my second color underneath the black line art- carefully “trapping” the green under the edge of the black line art where ever I wanted the two colors to meet up or overlap. (See Below)

Black to 50% opacity, both black and green layers selected to show how the green is “trapped” under the black line art.

Lastly, I added a few vector halftones to my ink drawing to enhance the overall depth and left my green layer flat so that it functioned as solid spot coloring under a detailed ink drawing. Now with my illustration finished, I printed my film positives (which Shawn covered in his previous post on the topic). You can see how that worked in the illustration in this snappy little animation below!

This shows the order in which the print was created in Illustrator; drawing the green layer under the black line art after the live trace and adding the halftones to add some extra depth last.

Have a look at the actual screen prints-


Close up of the print

Close up of the print.

Signed and numbered edition of 20

Here is a link to a full sized version of the art so that you can see the details, or just rip it off!

Well, That’s all folks! Thank you for reading my little demo… See you at the rock show!!! xoxo, JP Flexner

Gift Guide: Emmeline Pidgen

  1. Vintage BOAC airline fan, £15 + S/H, Retropolitan
  2. Blue single pattern greetings card, £2.50 + S/H, Alice Potter
  3. Sweater screenprint, $25 + S/H, Karolin Schnoor
  4. Berries on feet earrings, £35 + S/H, Hirn & Hers
  5. Green Woodpecker Brooch, £24 + S/H, Kate Slater
  6. Pegasus Locket, £19 + S/H, Bonbi Forest
  7. Fallen Flowers phone case, £25 + S/H, Ohh Deer
  8. Bird in Tree Stacking Cups Set, $54 + S/H, Poketo
  9. Sylvester and the New Year by Emmeline Pidgen, (Hardback) £9.99, Amazon
  10. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, £16, Amazon
  11. Anke Weckmann Darjeeling Travel Notebook, $68 + S/H, Monoblock

Gift Guide: Danny Brito

Creative Gifts for Collectors of Cute Things:

  1. Starving for Attention T-Shirt, $22 + S/H, Adam J. Kurtz
  2. Ultimate Sweatshirt, $35 + S/H, MILKBBI
  3. Zipper Pouch, $10 + S/H, Danny Brito
  4. Cody (Blue), $95 + S/H, Jon Knox Studio
  5. Bear Pouch, €18 + S/H, One Little Red Fox
  6. Ohara Hale Pillow Case, $30 + S/H, Stay Home Club
  7. Cat Doll, $190 + S/H, Cat Rabbit Plush
  8. Bunny Embroidery, $42 + S/H, Sleepy King
  9. Bart Brooch, $12 + S/H, Natali Koromoto