Working with Others

Working with Others

It’s just me here in the workshop, making things, singing to myself and having the occasional dance imagewhen no one is looking, because no one is ever looking. Sometimes I am productive, sometimes I procrastinate. I work alone. Or I did until recently.

My good friend and amazing artist, Laura Herman [link here], asked if she could come learn how to do what I do and help out in the workshop. Laura is the one responsible for the scrollwork on Mjolnir. So for one or two days a week I am no longer working alone. Then it occurred to me that I have never really been working alone. I work with others all the time.

Talking to a few people about my revelation brought up some interesting questions and views, what is working with others? Who do you work with? Surely the people you buy your materials from, the people who you make things for, the people you collaborate with, all these people are other people. What about the people who you see and meet at conventions. I have been told that I return from a convention renewed and excited. It’s true, I do.

Other people often bring inspiration and a new set of eyes. Other people have other skills and bring diversity to the table. Other people never see things how I see things and this has always been a benefit and never a hindrance. However, I have also been told by a friend that, “I have never met anyone who has as strong a view of how you want things, as you do”, it’s a polite way of saying I am stubborn and want things my way all the time and this can make working with others difficult.

So what do I do? Well, let us consider the ways in which I work with others, I am sometimes the customer, sometimes the vendor and sometimes the partner. As a vendor I offer my things to people to buy. I try to never sell to anyone, I don’t like selling things, which is odd because I rely on people buying things to live. Come meet us at a convention and chat with us for a while, we won’t try to sell you anything. I feel that if a person wants to buy a shield or a TARDIS, they will buy it without me convincing them to. I kind of hate it when people try to sell me things. I think that if I have been convinced to buy something then I probably didn’t want it in the first place.

As a customer I am often looking for something from someone, materials, a 3d model, something I either don’t have the time to do or can’t do myself. This is driven by an idea which, we already know, can be very strong, set and certain. This can make it hard for me to listen to others but here is what I do. I pretend that they are asking me for advice. Sometimes people come to me for advice in areas I have knowledge of. I know stuff, some stuff I know really well and I love it when people ask me about things I am good at. So, when I go to someone and ask them for their expertise, I try to imagine how I would want to be listened to and I remember that this person really knows their stuff, or I wouldn’t be here asking. It works a treat and driven by a strong sense of where I want to get to with my idea, I can help them help me get to where I want to be. It becomes collaboration.

Then there is collaboration. Getting so excited about something with someone that you are pouring out ideas at each other, struggling to contain the excitement and desperate to get started on a project. This happens with Laura. Collaboration with someone whose work you admire and with whom you are in tune, is exciting and affirming. Do we compromise on our individual ideas, yes, probably, but it doesn’t really feel like that. It feels more like accommodating each other’s strengths. We have been working on a large project for All Star Comics, [link here], for a while now and we have become like the Voltron of art and making things. We fit together and we grow and then shoot lasers out of our eyes.

Working alone has it’s benefits, you can do anything you want, you answer to no one, but I feel that isn’t how people are meant to be. Apart from the massive boost in productivity that comes from having Laura around in the workshop, I feel we were all meant to work with others one level or another. Look after each other, learn and be awesome.

Next time; Why I like HYDRA, AIM and ROXXON

Allan, AKA “The TARDIS Guy”

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