What is collaboration?
It’s a process where two or more individuals work together to achieve shared goals.
Collaboration can take many forms, but for this post I’m mainly referring to an artist/writer or artist/artist partnership.
Since the internet came along, collaboration has become more popular and a lot easier. With the barriers of geographical location removed, there are many more opportunities to find a partner you work well with.
I’ve made a point of collaborating on various projects for quite a few years and I’ve found that it has many benefits. I’ve worked on projects I would not have otherwise, and I feel it has helped me to grow professionally and creatively.
Finding the Right Partner
Finding the right partner to collaborate with is key. Ideally, you want to find someone you work well with, where each partner can focus on their respective strengths to create something unique, something different than either of you could have created alone. For a partnership to work well, both collaborators need to treat the relationship with respect and professionalism.
Here are a few of the key benefits I found in my experience with collaboration:
Working on personal projects is fun and exciting. But there can be times where you struggle with maintaining momentum. When working in collaboration there is another person invested in the process and outcome, and this can be a real boost to your motivation and energy level throughout a project. When someone else is counting on you to deliver your part of the work, it can really help you buckle down and just get it done.
A Creative Challenge
Working with a partner can help you break out of your comfort zone and grow as an artist. Your collaborator will have their own way of thinking, and you can be exposed to new ideas, subject matter, and points of view. All of this can lead to solutions you may not have considered otherwise, and often it can help you break through barriers in your own work.
Develop Relationship Skills
If you treat the collaborative partnership in a professional manner, you can benefit from gaining experience in a number of areas that will serve you well in your career. You’ll develop your communication skills, a sense of accountability for your work, the art of compromise, more patience, and a level of professional trust. All of these skills are very valuable when you are working with clients.
Build up a Body of Work
If you are sharing the workload with another person and each working in your areas of strength, you’ll have the opportunity to complete projects more efficiently than if you were working alone. And, if you are an illustrator working with a writer, perhaps you’ll be able to complete projects you may never have completed alone - especially if you do not write yourself.
Expand Your Network
While you’re collaborating you’re also building a professional relationship with another person. Good working relationships are very valuable, and building them over time through collaboration is a good way to expand your network. You never know where opportunity will arise in the future from those relationships that you have developed.
When you are working with a partner, you add their network to your own when it’s time to promote your projects. A bigger network means more exposure, and more exposure is always a good thing.
Is Collaboration Right for You?
Even if you prefer to work alone, it’s worth exploring the possibility of collaboration. It can open up a whole new set of opportunities for professional and artistic growth, as well as develop your skills in other areas.
If any of you reading this post have had any experiences with collaboration, we'd love to hear what you may have learned, or any tips you'd like to share.