Hello fellow watercolor nerds and newbies to this website,
This post is dedicated to the topic of Collaborating.
Recently, I opened up a question box via my Instagram stories to ask you what you would like to know about collaborating. I left it open to interpretation simply because I know myself that collaborating itself can take on many forms.
Firstly, I'll explain why I posed this question.
For a while now I have been receiving messages, via DM mostly, asking if I'd like to do a collab with them. The first few times I didn't hesitate to say YES. BUT then what followed was the realization that I'd agreed to something entirely different to my own understanding. It turns out, I've learnt, that there are 3 (and probably more!) kinds of "collaborations" one can do.
Did you know this? Because, I didn't?
I learnt the uncomfortable way which was not ideal at that time. It was awkward because it made me feel like I'd agreed and pulled out when in fact my understanding was simply just DIFFERENT, not necessarily wrong.
So what questions did I get asked?
Please explain the whole concept and how we do it?
The concept itself means to work with someone(s) to produce or create something.
The HOW depends on the type of collaboration itself.
In terms of type 1 - this requires a lot of time, effective communication between each other or within a group. In person is ideal or via chat and to use images to capture ideas such as color. It is important to both be on the same page and to have the same understanding.
Deciding on a theme for the palette is the first step. Everything will fall into place after that!
3 Types that I am familiar with in the watercolor world:
1 - Create a custom palette or relative products together or as a group.
2 - Establish a giveaway together to boost engagement and share each others follower reach and a much more effective way of advertising in my opinion!
3 - An artist receives free/discounted product and in exchange they post a review in their feed/stories.
Are collabs paid?
That depends on the company - with me, it's unpaid if option 3. If option 2, I am footing the bill. For option 1 - this is a personal agreement depending on the circumstances whether it could be free or heavily discounted.
What have you done when collaborating with others?
I have provided my time and materials with regards to making a curated palette. I guide the artist(s) with my knowledge and availability of pigments. I also advise as to whether or not the palette will be 'sellable' - i.e. is it something that would be versatile and exciting?
I also try to aim to get the curator to play with the colors prior. This is tricky with distance but even if I can get the sample dots available while the set cures.
For me a collab is to join forces to make something that's cool for both, tagging a bigger account just to be seen, is not! In my experience, you can't stop admiring the joint progress and work done.
I agree with this, that it needs to be a reciprocal arrangement. Often times, one account will naturally have a larger reach than the other anyway. However, for me, it is the coming together of creative brains to create something exciting that will bring joy to others.
What are your expectations when you collab with someone?
My expectations are pretty simple. That the other individual(s) share their opinions and guide me towards their vision. i.e. if I get a color wrong, to tell me and redirect me with examples or descriptions.
To be available to answer my questions. So online presence is vital. Too much wait time can be difficult especially if I am needing to know if I need to order pigments etc.
To support the release of the product via sharing online such as stories or main feed.
To maintain a consistent/committed online presence.
How to reach out??? and for eg when collaborating on a palette what if conflicting ideas?
Generally if there are conflicting ideas, then that there is an allowance for a healthy/constructive discussion about the colors. This should not be an issue if you choose wisely to whom you collaborate with on a palette. This is why I highly recommend you collaborate with someone you know and respect. Someone that you share similarities with.
Reaching out, again, if you know each other fairly well, should in effect be either natural or literally like planting a seed. "Hey, we should make a palette together!" Or, "would you be interested in making a palette with me in the future?"
How do we propose it?
Answered above. Plant the seed through regular interaction. Asking straight out cold/sporadically is bold but what particularly helps is if there is an existing relationship in place or that you have appeared on their radar for a steady amount of time. This demonstrates commitment, loyalty and that you have a regular online presence.
If you get no response, that's a clear no. If the person you approached, seems resistant/hesitant then you have two choices. 1. Leave them alone. 2. Get to know them a bit better. Like their posts, comment and respond to their stories more often to create a consistent presence that could lead to potential conversations and getting to know one another. Going in cold with someone that you do not have a close relationship with can be intimidating. Be mindful of this. Also, the other person might just be insanely busy.
Do you only collaborate with artists/other paint makers or are you open to other makers?
I am open to other makers provided the vision/idea is something that would be appealing.
How do you initiate a collaboration?
Personally, I have approached artists directly that I have an existing relationship with and brainstormed together a theme, number of colors (can be flexible here) and then colors. Nothing is ever static, things can change. i.e. Adding in a color, taking away a color.
There are artists I have asked, and curated palettes have never occurred because they were more familiar with Type 3 - reviewing products for free. This is often the biggest misunderstanding I have consistently encountered with various artists. The idea of curating a palette seemed foreign to them and therefore a collaboration never happened because they were so focused on product review. In their best interest, curating a palette would lend itself to a whole lot more product, choice and positive social exposure.
If you would like to learn more about collaborating as a maker with creatives or as a creative with a maker and not sure how, send me a private message on here or via instagram.