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[OPEN PLEA] How to be the effective non-artistic component of a collaboration

Hi, my name is Larlar.


(Hi, Larlar.)


I've had the only two collaborations I've ever been offered in the last decade both fell into the realm of awkward death. Both with really fucking talented artists from here, too. You may know that place: you work together on some ideas and then one day you just never hear a response again. Your collaborator gets "really busy" with "other projects." Which, if you've ever dated before, is code for "This was a mistake. I don't want to do this anymore with you. Please just go away."


Well I'm done going away! I'm coming back. I'm here. And I'm sitting down, comfortably, smoking a pipe. Because please don't get me wrong. I'm not upset. I'm perfectly calm, cool, collected, offside, and occasionally creepy, especially around those who are noticeably overprotective of their children.


I just want to learn. To improve. And, most importantly...actually successfully complete a collaboration. Or at least get one off the ground before it crashes horribly into the countryside.


I'll be the first to admit that my initial ideas may be large and unwieldy. I also have many of them - a decade's worth, in fact - swimming around inside my head like blind, hyperactive jellyfish. Maybe I come on too strong at the outset. Maybe I offer up too many ideas all at once. That's just how I brainstorm. I expect the people I'm working with to shoot most of the ideas down, come up with their own. You know. Collaborate. That's my perception of the process. But maybe I'm wrong. In fact, I must be wrong, or I'd have two collaborations completed by now. This is why I'm writing this thread.


I want to collaborate effectively, threadless. Artists, tell me what you want from a sloganeering partner. Do you prefer someone who just lets you run free and wild with one of his ideas? Do you prefer someone who sketches terrible first drafts for you to work with? Slogans are dead and gone and I have the biological desire to make little threadless idea babies. Help me spread my seed, god damn it, or I'll kill you all, dig up your corpses, and try to kill you all again. I really don't want to do that. Don't make me do that. It means I have to spend money on a shovel.

Watch this
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PeculiarTiffany
PeculiarTiffany profile pic Alumni

I'm a collaborator's worst nightmare. And I think most artists are, really. Thing is, I don't think it's usually about the person that initiates the collaboration, it's that the artist gets caught up in other projects, other ideas, other artistic inspirations.

At least, that's my problem. I have SO MANY things that I want to do and draw and too many hobbies, plus a significant other that I would like to spend time with... then things get put on the backburner and projects are forgotten. Not just ones that others have asked me to participate in, but personal endeavors as well.

I wouldn't take it personally, really. And don't be afraid to nudge the artist and be like "Hey, not being a pest, but remember me?" Usually they do, it's just that you got put on the indefinite backburner in lieu of other ideas that are fresh and exciting.

I'm sure FA and Soloyo have plenty of people that they approach, say "Yeah!" and then it goes nowhere. Soloyo recently approached me about one, and as much as I intend to go through with it and would really love to, my brain is an unorganized mess and distractions are so very tempting. I fully intend to keep that commitment, but - oh, shiny!

Just gotta do a little prodding or just move on and let the artist know that you're doing so.

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

Hey Larlar , TheInfamousBaka just remind me of something, Can I borrow the shovel :-)

Dude, you need to sell your ideas. Just remember that not everyone is going to buy them. Somethimes it takes a while to get an idea going. It took me almost 2 years to finally get a collab with RicoMambo that we were both happpy with.

If your ideas are half as good as your slogans used to be, I can't wait to see your collabs take form.

Akaka
Akaka profile pic Alumni

Maybe if you collabed with some big name Threadless artists they probably really are quite busy and have a lot of creative projects going on? I don't know, I've done one collab which was successful and we worked together pretty well, but that was lucky. It can be really hard to find the person who is the best fit for the project, not just in their art style but in other ways too.

I would welcome comments and suggestions as long as the other person is also letting me do my own thing and capable of being nice about it :)

Larlar
Larlar profile pic Alumni

Holy shit, responses.

I mean...yes, hello.

No, I know some prodding is necessary. I suppose that's fair advice. I can say I do prod a respectable amount but it gets to a point where if I've sent 3-4 emails over the span of a couple of months and gotten nothing back, it seems like time to let the thing die.

I certainly feel like I can't pester an artist indefinitely, because in my mind it ends up coming off as "hey, come on, draw this thing for me." I don't want to be that guy.

And I can appreciate the difference between selling my ideas to lure in artists and having an artist approach me out of the blue for a collab. If the collab communication died in the former scenario, I would simply chalk it up to needing to sell my ideas with more verve. But my experiences so far are exclusively of the latter scenario, and an artist offering freely to collab with me and then disappearing completely...well, I guess it was hard for me not to take personally somehow.

Definitely things to think about, though.

Larlar
Larlar profile pic Alumni

And that collab looks like it's coming along beautifully, soloyo.

Shadyjibes
Shadyjibes profile pic Alumni

My earlier process was to mail the artist i'd like to work with. i figured out soon enough that the idea needs to have a rough draft from you if you wish to be taken seriously (unless until you can explain it as well as FA does). I got my first collab print with my 8th collab this year.

soon after that though, i would just show my rough sketch to my threadless artist friends on facebook and see if anyone's interested. i got a lot of collabs done that way, just on facebook! nowadays, i post my sketches on the blogs here and if i get a good response, i try to find a collaborator either on the blogs or on gmail and facebook. i find it a better way than to wait for the artist to reply to your mail.

but i guess this process works for me coz my ideas are pretty simple, mostly puns, wordplay or a conversation. and i've a group of artists i collab frequently with who are pretty awesome to always give me feedback on my ideas and do a collab if they like it. so i'd say i've had a pretty easy collab experience here and i've learned a LOT!

StevenLefcourt

I think the easy thing to overlook is that most artists abandon most of their own ideas and designs before they ever finish either. Collaboration can lead to the same end, especially with a lot of the control out of the artists hands. We freelancers do get caught up in our own work though because freelancing is not a steady gig at all times in life and if jobs or opportunities come along we have to take them. Its not always code for lets see other people.

taz-pie

OMFGLARLAR

taz-pie

I love to draw but suck with ideas. See my sub for proof

pyr4lis
pyr4lis profile pic Alumni

Yeah I've always been worried about collabs. I tend to get caught up in my own personal life / work / hobbies / etc. I do have a 8-6 cubicle job that sometimes runs over into my own life. Then there's friends and my husband etc that I'd love to spend time with too.

I tried one with Jake Friedman which sort of got shoved to the back burner of my work process when I was struggling to get the art the way I wanted it. Now I do feel like I've progressed some as an artist since my last try at the project, and I do still intend to get back to this one. That said we started this way back in January and then I just kind of stopped emailing when I hit a block with the artwork and needed to step back and work on other stuff for awhile. It's really hard when you have lots of things you want to work on and you just have to sort of go with what you're feeling at the moment. I had other personal subs that were easier for me to get completed since I was "feeling" the work process lol.

I did my first finished collab (well two) with Manupix for the Bowtruss coffee thing. We'd been trying to get a collab together for quite a few months but projects and ideas and my available time were just not lining up. Although I'm pretty happy with how the Bowtruss ones came out!

In summary with all my rambling I'm going to say at least from an artists stand point it's probably more of a "It's not you it's me" kind of excuse lol. Artists sometimes can't get ideas down. They don't see it going where you do... or they can't get it to look right. Sometimes they just get bored with projects and need to step away for a bit. Etc etc. So yeah don't feel bad. Just hound them a bit. If they're busy they just need to say so :)

littlem

hi, larlar.

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

Hi Larlar

[+duracell-]

I won't collab with anyone so stop asking me people.

littlem

nobody asked you. haha

[+duracell-]

bro I get like 1000 offers a day, at least

littlem

ya don't say... fist bump, brah

littlem

i get like 1001

Twiggyhall

Hey Annie & Chad, you wanna do a 3-way?

COLLAB?

harharharharhar

[+duracell-]

I'm gonna draw your idea so hard.

Then Annie is gonna come in and like.. color in the lines, and stuff. :l

taz-pie

I would secretly love to sub again

Twiggyhall

Then Annie is gonna come in and like.. color in the lines, and stuff. :l

stuff = poot

:p

Larlar
Larlar profile pic Alumni
taz-pie said:

I would secretly love to sub again

Taz, this isn't a secret if you tell everyone.

And thanks for some sensible answers, you wonderful threadless community, before my thread delved into madness and then oblivion.

Fleck
Fleck profile pic Alumni

Ha. It's interesting hearing everyone's point of view. I've tried doing collabs a few times and they've never gone well. Some people seem to nail it though. Something that demotivates me a bit is sometimes the assumption of the 50/50 split of prize money even when the collaborator just gives ideas. I suspect a lot of the artists here aren't exactly short on the ideas front, so unless the idea is flipping incredible it won't really get any priority over other stuff.

taz-pie

i just came for the madness and oblivion

Larlar
Larlar profile pic Alumni

But what did you stay for?

randyotter3000
randyotter3000 profile pic Alumni
4 designs submitted - Score now!

The biggest problem with people who want to collaborate with artists is that they believe the best idea is a really complicated and detailed one which really isn't the case and often it just ends up looking like a well executed mess

taz-pie

i came to stay with the vain hope that ONE DAY i may sub again, provided i have a genius idea.

also, i stay for noodly boobs.

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni
randyotter3000 said:

The biggest problem with people who want to collaborate with artists is that they believe the best idea is a really complicated and detailed one which really isn't the case and often it just ends up looking like a well executed mess

It depends on you are you collabing with, you need to make sure your idea is flexible enough to go with the style of the artist you are collabing with.

gumbolimbo
gumbolimbo profile pic Alumni

"add more doodahs"

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

Also, where is your e-mail address, you should have added it at the end of your Rant ( I mean , blog ) What if someone does wants to contact you?

Larlar
Larlar profile pic Alumni

I couldn't put my email address up there. Taz-pie's noodly boobs kept getting in the way.

But my email address is at the top of my profile. Hidden in plain sight, where no one dare look.

taz-pie

my noodly boobs are GLORIOUS flounces off with one in each hand

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

Dude

sent me an- email please

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

Bump

taz-pie

OMG WHERE IS LARLAR??

BeanePod
BeanePod profile pic Alumni
1 design submitted -
taz-pie said:

i came to stay with the vain hope that ONE DAY i may sub again, provided i have a genius idea.

also, i stay for noodly boobs.

  • make sure noodly boobs made it into another blog - check
taz-pie

But seriously Larlar is there any chance you could email me some of your ideas and I can see if my skills are any good for you?

taz-pie

I would normally be too shy or embarassed to ask that question... HOWEVER 2013 is the Year of Giving No Fucks

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

LARLAR

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

bump

celandinestern
celandinestern profile pic Alumni

Let me give a casual nod to the encroaching madness that is taking over this blog and give some views.

I've had supersuccessful collabs and superfaily ones.

My best collabs were with other artists - I draw something and then they draw something and then I add some colors and then they change the background and it flows back and forth and becomes a beautiful thing that neither of us would have managed on our own. That for me is the definition of best - collab - evah.

My second best collabs are with a few amazing artists who agreed to draw things for me that I just wasn't good enough to draw myself. They did an INCREDIBLE job, both of 'em. I gave suggestions, I did the colors, provided reference pics etc. It did make me feel sort of the less equal partner, because I can't help but feel that whoever actually DRAWS is the important person in the collab. It's just a feeling I can't shake.

I've managed to complete very few collabs so far where I'm the artist and the other person is the idea person. In fact maybe only one. The problem is, I get much more excited about other people's art skills than about my own, so when I'm the only one drawing I keep feeling like I'm hitting against my boundaries and not really pulling the idea off as well as I'd like. Also yes, no one has as yet approached me with a simply executable idea. They're all kinda complex.

I have a CRAPTON of collabs in the works or on hold (SORRY GUYYYYS!!!), and I genuinely mean to finish all of them, somehow someday. With some I'm some way there, with others I've started a bunch of sketches and nothing has worked yet. I tell myself I'm getting better as time goes by so in the end my collab partners will be happier once I get around to them and I'm actually good :)

finally, it's hard to turn someone down when they're like 'aw I love your stuff please do something with me here's a gajillion ideas do you like any???" It's so hard to say 'umm honestly, nope, none of that is doing it for me.' So sometimes you're like 'ok maybe I can make a go of it', but if you're not super enthused about a thing usually you won't have the energy to really pull it off.

so it's all sorts of things. It takes patience and a bit of luck. Chemistry between collab partners is superimportant methinks.

taz-pie

Oh baby, we gots chemistry!

rossmat8
rossmat8 profile pic Alumni

I've lost track of how many people have either started to work with me then "Lost interest" or never even got past me emailing them and them saying they like my idea then never going any further. I am terrible about following through myself though so I'm sure a lot of the blame goes to me.

soloyo
soloyo profile pic Alumni

Larlar you should also include yourself in Rossmat8 slogan collaboration contest

Larlar
Larlar profile pic Alumni

Shit, I thought this blog died.

Taz, yes! But I can't find your email address, so send me one. It's at the top of my profile, right above the fake type tee. I wrote it in "code" because I hate email-finding spambots.

Soloyo, same thing. Also, what contest?

This reply would be less manic but I'm typing it on my phone while simultaneously being followed and yelled at by a homeless stranger, so I need to keep one arm free for emergency punching.

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