Two Years of Teamwork!
Braden and I thought a lot about one particular question posed by Caleb Goellner in the “Adventure Time #25...” interview on Comics Alliance. I’m going to leave this here, ironically on Valentines Day, in case anyone is thinking about collaborating on comics (and I hope you consider it!) with a friend, team or romantic partner.
Comics Alliance: As a guy who has been married to a creative person for several years himself, I must ask. How do you handle inevitable deadline-related stresses and/or squabbles as a collaborating couple? Since you are still relative newlyweds, feel free to lie and say you never argue.
We’ve learned a lot, working together on this series for so long. And since we’ve noticed more people collaborating on art as a team, we’d like to offer these folks some advice for keeping the workflow and the relationship healthy.
- First, Make sure everyone’s on the same page before starting the project. We’ve resolved a lot of our chronic problems by collaborating on layouts (similar to thumbnails) at the outset, so there’s no surprises when a deadline is breathing down our necks.
- We also find it’s beneficial to frankly say what aspects of the page or elements are important to you, and giving each other a few veto votes — for instance Shelli is particular when it comes to consistent character designs and Braden often pushes to incorporate more elements into a panel to reinforce the scene or the action.
- When you’re working with people who have different strengths (i.e. human beings), recognize your own strengths, as well as your weaknesses. And be proud of your partner’s strengths, and allow them to be the authority on that skill. Putting your ego aside allows for a speedier workflow. This one of the reasons we started working together, because we’re already honest with each other as a couple.
- Always be willing to change the way you work if you’re working as a team, for the sake of the project. We believe we make good comics because of the thought that goes into every page, and our shared commitment to good, clear, and inventive visual storytelling. The way we work together means that not only are our voices are equally matched, but they sound good together.
- Collaborating closely on a creative project is not for everyone, but if you’re coming up in comics, you might consider working that way for the benefits of involving two creative minds. If you do, start early, as it can take a while to get used to. And yes, stress will find its way in, especially when deadlines loom. Manage stress, notice your partner’s stress and address it. Over all, respect the person you’re working with, whether you’re married to them or not.
And for the record, we never argue. We just have IDEA BATTLES.