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The Artist's Perspective - Challenge

open book with sketch
Storytelling and doodling combined!

A couple of months ago, I offered what I hoped to be a few simple things to inspire and stimulate you in the way of a fun little creative challenge. My plan was to back it up the next month with part 2, but unfortunately, I’m writing so much these days that after I wrote what turn out to be last month’s story on Positive and Negative Space, I overlooked part 2 of my challenge.

Well, I’m here to fix that oversight with this, my second creative challenge. All of this is just meant for fun, creative fun! It’s just a way of shaking up your creative juices, and this time my aim is for you to collaborate with a friend. You can make it a small group if you wish, but just two will also be great! The cool thing is, you can technically even do this with a long-distance friend and collaborator.

Okay, the first rule; you do not have to be an artist. Okay, that’s not really a rule, and even if it was, it’s the only one. Grab your partner, sister, brother, spouse, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, Aunt, Uncle, and let’s get started. The two of you, (or however many), are going to choose one of 3 simple ways to practice and learn how to collaborate. 1) Doodling. 2) Storytelling. 3) Photographic connection. Here’s how each might work.

1) Doodling - Get a large sheet of poster paper and Sharpies or some kind of markers. Flip a coin to see who goes first, and the first person starts with a line. It can be long or short, curvy or straight. The point here is the second person will have to add to it, create a design, or even turn it into something. These first two lines are critical, as the first person enjoys the freedom of doing anything, while the second enjoys the freedom of possibly creating the direction for the whole doodle!. After your first lines, keep it going until you fill the piece of poster paper, top to bottom, side to side. Your collaborative artwork can be completed in one session, or take overnight trips between collaborator’s homes, taking a month to do. It is up to you. You can even share your progress on social media if you choose. The point is working together and seeing where it goes. Allow yourselves to feel a sense of control when it’s your turn, and to see the differences in the direction your fellow collaborator might be taking from what you may have done. Also share your feelings, as collaboration can be wonderful or feel like a loss of creative control. Oh, and notice, with no rules I haven’t set a time or a number of lines each turn can take. This is your artwork, and any rules like this that you agree to place on yourself is up to you. But as a suggestion, I would probably keep each turn short and to one line. Meaning once the tip of your marker hits, you can go anywhere you want to go, but once you lift, you’re done. Again, it’s up to you!

2) Storytelling - This can be a long-distance challenge that you both can do using paper, but might be more fun to do through a long text, email, or even just a phone conversation if you want. The coin flip, one person goes first starting the story. This can be as simple as; “Once upon a time," or as complex as; “It was a cold and windy night, the shutters were rapping against the side of the house and…. “ Then the other person keeps the story going. The idea is to not only collaborate story development but character development as well. You can add as many characters as you wish because it is you and your fellow collaborator’s story to do with whatever you please. Again, just as with doodling, this challenge will not only allow you to build something together, it will allow you to see how you each feel about collaboration.

3) Photographic connection - Now this can be fun because it just involves your mobile phone’s camera. Again, flip the coin to see who begins the challenge. The first person takes a photo of whatever he or she chooses. It can be family, horses, a landscape, something with color, big things, little things, things with names, black and white, anything and everything. You send the photo to your fellow collaborator. That person looks at the photo and has to choose anything out of it that can be considered a link. An example might go like this. The first person takes a photo of their brother in an old Chevy car in front of some trees. Common links for the next person could include brothers, an old Chevy (including things like the Chevy logo), maybe a Chevy advertisement, or it could just be a car, or the trees. Person number one may choose the trees, and so their photo is of trees. The next person may link the trees, but their photo also includes a barn and big puffy clouds in the sky, and it goes on from there.

These challenges are meant to get you thinking together as a team. When you think of all of the great collaborators, (especially spouses), you see the benefits of working together. Again, all in good fun, and to help you live an artful life!



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