010: Collaboration in Creating Caricatures

Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2016

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins

1. Collaboration is not having 100% control and requires trust.
2. Instead of being frustrated by the lack of control in collaborating you need to see the beauty in it.
3. Collaboration is utilizing people’s best skills to serve the project and not your ego.
4. You’re going to have to remain objective if you’re going to be professional.

I loved drawing ever since I was a little kid. My grandparents used to watch me after school and they would take me to a coffee shop where they would sit and drink coffee for hours and talk with their other senior citizen friends. As a young kid I didn’t have a problem being there that long or being restless because I could always entertain myself with drawing.
I also was too little to understand or know anything about quality materials — and I contend this is where I started my guerrilla approach to illustrating on whatever tools you have on you — because I would borrow a ball point pen from the waitress and just use napkins or those rough brown paper towels from the mens room and draw for that entire time I was there. I was always entertained.
Every now and again one of my grandparents friends would come by and comment on my work and try drawing something on my coffeeshop canvas. THE NERVE! Here I was trying to create a sprawling masterpiece of dinosaurs and sea life and they would just mark up my art with their amateur doodles. I hated it. I would subtly slip into the mens room and tear off the corner or piece of the paper towel where they vandalized my artwork and flush it down the toilet.
You could say I was not a fan of collaborations.
This mentality carried over into high school and college where anytime there was some type of group project I would just self-impose a lot of the work because I didn’t trust anyone to do the work that I could do.
I think the reason I was so resistant to them was that I didn’t trust what another person could bring to the table. I’m sure it has something to do with me being someone who likes to be in control and having some mild OCD. I know what to expect from me, but I have no idea what to expect from someone else; trusting someone else to materialize a concept that you conceived and can see in your brain is like the opposite of control — it’s an entropy and chaos sandwich!
However starting a few years ago I started to dip my toe into collaborations when I wrote a few comics for a strip I was working on at the time. I didn’t have time to complete them myself and I also wanted a different visual approach and interpretation. I knew it was going to be difficult because I didn’t know what the other artists would come up with, but it was also exciting because I didn’t know what the other artists would come up with.
When I received the artwork I got exactly what I was thinking I would get: something that was nothing like how I imagined.
My initial urge was to tell the artist it wasn’t right and not what I was thinking, but when I paused I realized that is what made it what I subconsciously wanted; to get something that was different from what I was thinking. I wanted their work to best serve the piece and not my ego. Before I hired them I knew I wasn’t going to execute it the way I wanted and that is the very reason to why I hired them. Instead of being frustrated by it I saw the beauty in this lack of control.
Collaboration is about utilizing the best tools and skills for a project to best serve the project and not your ego. I’m reiterating that because as artists we pour so much of ourselves into our work that it’s hard to be objective and not emotional. If a piece doesn’t work it’s like admitting that WE are not working. You’re going to have to be objective if you’re going to be a professional. You’re going to have to see that sometimes your skills are not right for a project or that maybe only part of your skills are right for a project.
My name is Dominic Sedillo and I am a caricature artist. I’d love to collaborate with you one day on creating a caricature. Hit me up if you’re interestedI believe every face has a story to tell and I want to teach you how to tell it.