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In ealy 2020 there was a call on Instagram to join the Distant Collab challenge. Participating creatives filled out a form to be paired with each other to collaborate virtually on whatever projects they chose. In the midst of a global pandemic and lack of creative social interactions, I decided that this would be the perfect challenge to take part in.
I was paired with Lara Mascareño, a Venezuelan pattern designer and illustrator based in Gran Canaria. As I loved her pattern designs, I suggested to animate one of her creations. We decided to work on the bugs on a pond pattern she had created in 2019.
It was a lot of fun figuring out how I wanted all the characters to move, how much animation was too much and what was not enough.
Illustration by Lara Mascareño, Animation by Sonja Geracsek
I wanted to keep the original calm and mellow atmosphere intact but breath life into it, in the form of animation. I also wanted to integrate the pattern part of the design into the animation and keep it repeatable, which you will see in the video below.
New challenges help you grow and develop your creative journey. By taking on this collaboration, I was able to work with a whole new design style, discovered the world of surface design and collaborated with an artist I have never worked with before. It challenged me to look at animation from a different perspective, solve a new problem and create a passion project when passion was hard to come by.
It also elevated some of the anxiety I felt about showing my face online and speaking to an unknown audience. I went on to create two more live streaming series’ Shut Up & Draw, where I try to improve my illustration skills without too much talking, and Work Watching, where you can watch me work on various client and passion projects.
This journey was the spark that lit the fire under me to collaborate more with other artists and get involved in the larger creative community. I sought out artists and illustrators from my community who’s work I admired and approached them about a collaboration. Connecting with your creative community creates a bond that will last past your initial contact. I realised that I felt more connected to them and engaged more with their content, as were they. We weren’t pixels on a screen any more, we became real people to each other that were more interested and proactive about helping each other succeed. To top it all off, we both got fresh content out of it, to share on our social media platforms. It was a win/win situation. I was more motivated to get started on new work, because it meant transforming someone’s art from still to animated, gaining a new friend in my community and making fresh content to share online. Collaborating with others holds you accountable for not only starting a projects but also finishing it. You are no longer the only person benefiting from the project being seen through to the end but you are also bringing joy to someone else’s life.
So, go out and find an artist you admire, drop them a DM or an email. Go bold or go home!