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It’s a new year, and The Creative Play Challenge is back with a new prompt: collaborate. As with this whole series, you can either click the link above to join our private Facebook group and share how you used the prompt this week, leave a comment here on this blog post to share, or do the prompt on your own.
How to Collaborate
Maybe it’s because we live in a digital age where collaboration in many forms is more feasible, but I’ve noticed it a lot lately. I’ve also been making an effort in my own life to collaborate in a simple but meaningful way for me, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been learning.
For one, you don’t have to live near your friend to be able to collaborate with them. There are many artists who have collaborated by sending their art back and forth through the mail or emailing each other ideas. My friend, Steph and I did a collaborative project of sorts a few years ago that consisted of each of us illustrating a side of a card and sending it back. You can see a bit of that project here.
Think small before you think big. It’s hard to know whether or not you and your friend will be a good fit when it comes to collaboration. There’s a lot of give and take, and in the process, you might find that your styles or ideas, though valid in their own rights, just don’t work very well together. Because of this, I’d suggest that you collaborate on a smaller project before you attempt to do a masterpiece together. Meet at a coffee shop, and sketch together. Host a laid-back crafternoon at your house, and paint a canvas together. Getting to know how you each work will do wonders for your collaboration efforts.
If you really like a piece of the work you’re collaborating on, speak up. For example, if you’re painting together, and you’ve made some marks that you want to keep, let your friend know. You want to be as open to change as possible when you’re collaborating (otherwise you’ll find yourself directing your friend and becoming frustrated when they “mess up” your work), but there are times when you have made something you want to keep. That’s fine. Just be open to them saying the same to you. You might find as you continue to work that you aren’t so attached to the marks you made after all. You never know.
Don’t forget your kids. If you have children, absolutely collaborate with them. This has been particularly meaningful to me in the past few years as my daughter and I have been doing collaborative drawings and paintings since she was very young. As with all collaborations, I never know what to expect when we work together, but the end result is always something I love. We talk about what we’re drawing as we work, so I often write a quick description in my sketchbook about some of those thoughts. (P.S. Let the child lead. If you have an agenda, it makes the collaboration part less fun for both of you.)
Working with another person can stretch you as an artist because it takes you places you wouldn’t usually go. You just might learn some new techniques and discover a new favorite combination of colors to work with . . . you never know!
Have fun, and see you next week for the next prompt in our challenge. :)