Do you have an inspiring story about how collaboration has helped you expand your thinking? I'd love to hear it!
Collaborative art is probably something all artists and crafters use in their daily creations, whether we know it or not. Not only is it a technique we use subconsciously, but it is a great tool to use when the creative juices aren't flowing so well, or you've hit a creative wall. Using collaborative art techniques purposefully is a great way to expand your creativity and think outside the box (as us artists so love to do!).
Below you will find a loose guide for beginning your journey with collaborative art. Remember, though, this is your creation, so if it doesn't go exactly step by step, then, well, you've probably created a better piece of work because of it! Have fun and be inventive!
Step 1: Brainstorm! As with beginning any new project, quality brainstorming is a must to achieve quality results. This doesn't mean you must sit down at a specific time and start brainstorming; ideas can come to you at any time. For instance, I typically get my "lightbulb" ideas when I am driving. I make a mental note of all my ideas and keep a pen and scratch pad in my purse so that as soon as I arrive at my destination, I can jot down the ideas I had on my drive.
Step 2: Enlist friends and family. This is where the collaboration part of the creation begins. Once you have developed an idea that you are happy with and would like to create from, begin discussing your idea with friends and family members. Tell them your idea and, most likely, they will begin to chime in with their two cents. If not, ask them what their thoughts are! They may be thinking something completely different from the direction you plan on taking your creation in, which in turn will expand your creativity and way of thinking! Be sure to take comprehensive notes from each person you discuss the project with so you remember what was discussed when you are on your own with your creation again.
Step 3: Consider their ideas. Now that you have developed an ongoing list of ideas from outsiders, begin thinking about how they would fit into your creation. This is where you will start melding your bright idea with their outsider eyes. If you feel like it's necessary, you can always go back and discuss the new, collaborative idea with them again to get an even more in-depth collaborative process.
Step 4: Create your masterpiece! Now that you have developed a cohesive idea through notes, sketches, and discussions, it is time to put your talent to work creating that masterpiece! You are the ultimate artist, but along the way, you have received insightful guidance and ideas from those individuals you care for, making thing creation that much more meaningful. Be sure to share your final creation with all those involved so they can see just how their ideas played into your final piece!
As you see, there are many opportunities for variety within this technique. The process can take as long as you'd like. You could do a quick piece that only takes a couple of days, or you could do a year-long piece where you get much more insight from a broader range of individuals. Remember that it is your creation, and you have a world of possibilities lying in front of you from your discussions with other individuals. Even the way you perceive your notes when you get home an hour, a day, or a week down the road becomes something completely new!
Most importantly, take time to enjoy the collaboration process. Get those closest to you involved, and make sure they understand what you are doing so they can enjoy the process right along with you! Have fun!
Photo courtesy of Yael Fran.