I immensely enjoyed the Team CHOW, and thank you, Daes, for making it happen!! This experience rivals the teamwork experiences I have at school and sometimes work, where I don't even get to touch art but have to deal with programming mainly. For ONCE I finished an art piece!! Yaaaay!!
This is also the first challenge I fully entered here at CA, so that makes me really proud!!
I barely knew my teammates, but I recall letting my voice be heard and actually WANTING to join in this time. I've never been that outgoing. It was awesome to get Dani Duck, Tavarilyn and MJ_Alcazar with me. I was surprised; having had many bad experiences with teams in school, and this just turned my outlook around! I'm so glad we got to know each other over the challenge. We learned much, and I think I showed my funny bone a lot more than I normally would. We each had something or somethings to offer and that means a lot that we all got a hand in doing SOMETHING substantial for the team! (I'm even happy the ladies liked my name for our team!! Squee!!)
I'm glad we were able to speak our minds in the team, because sometimes we disagreed, but we did it respectfully, and just continued on with our goals. Every idea we had could be changed without any of us feeling left out or overlooked. That really touched me.
More good points were raised already: The briefing was a great idea. Just enough to wet our whistles and get us thinking on our own. I researched a lot more than ever before. I think six characters was excellent--for a balance of responsibilities (though I admit to just doing one), and also because as MJ mentioned, our team got into the characters and their relationships to an awesome extreme.
We finished on our end, but I'll say that for me, school at first was a big problem. Because it lacks the creativity that this challenge has, I had to figure out how to prioritize what needed to be done, and I know the other teammates had enough issues that sometimes brought us to a pause, not so much a huge halt. Gladly I had the second half of this challenge free to focus, so that worked on my end, anyway.
I should mention that this team idea is especially good because I have felt like I'm not part of CA as much. I think because I haven't had time to draw for myself. Now, doing this, I was drawing for others AND myself. That really helped me feel a sense of belonging!
Now, the team was supportive of one another, but one problem I noticed was that our SB didn't get one single comment from anyone! No helpful feedback or anything for our efforts. I know I commented on some of the SB's, maybe not as many as I could've, too. It just would've been nice if we too got some of the cheers and encouragement that other teams received. Still, we relied on one another and it worked for us! I'm glad we did, and I understand sometimes people don't get noticed and sometimes they do. If there is a way that teams can better interact with one another though, I'd go for that!
Regardless, of that problem, I think the Team CHOW should happen again! Not each month or anything, but a special treat for us all. Getting to know other people on CA is a must!! I hope we do it again, and I'll probably join again!!
Weeellll, I think 6 weeks would be a better time frame. Depending on the scope of the project. This was just about more than we could chew. Not the project's fault, our group was moving along pretty half-assed at first...sigh.... But I think 5-6 weeks will be a good one size fits all for following challenges. The clincher is, people have lives, and are living them. So teamwork is difficult. Blarg. Lack of incentive or accountability is an issue as well.
I think the time frame, amount of characters, and descriptions were all right-on. As for how to work effectively as a group... I still don't know.
Part of me is tempted to say that having an art director would be beneficial. Our team got hung up sometimes, particularly on the Shadow, as we had some wildly different takes on the character and some strong opinions on which way was the way to go! Time was lost; while if there was a dictator the matter would have been settled swiftly. I think that a director would allow for a more cohesive world/vision for the characters also.
However, I think our team's lack of a director led to some ideas that would not have happened if we had designated someone to approve/shoot-down ideas. I'm pretty sure that, though we have similar interests and inspirations amongst our group members, there are some key differences between us and how we think. Sometimes a balancing act would take place and the final ideas would be shaped for the better.
Our pacing was erratic. As Lalilulelo said, we got off to a slow start. We also tried to have Mr. Visions pencil all the characters in final form a week from the deadline and basically ended up trying to render the final versions of the characters in the last day or two. And we all work full time (including weekends for me) so... didn't end well. A week set aside to render would have been nice. Then we could have tried passing them around to each other to have a more unified style.
I also think we should have done more ideation/iteration. We all seemed to prefer to draw out our own vision for a character, pit them against each other, and decide which one was best, sometimes taking some ideas from the others. We probably became too invested in our sketches when we really hadn't found the most interesting shapes yet.
I really enjoyed popping in on different teams sketchbooks throughout the month and seeing different interpretations. I didn't participate myself though so I can't really speak to the setup itself, but from reading around it seems like the main problems were just people's lives getting in the way (imagine that). I think around 6 is a good number of entries per team as well.
But I would really like to participate in the next one so please bring team CHOW back.
p.s. Daestwen, would you like suggestions for future rounds of this? If so, please let me know where to post them because I have a few ideas.
Hm! I was just reading the brief for CHOW157 and thought, there should be an optional to make a team or at least a 2 person joint effort for Chow's in general. We could make a user name specifically for that end shared between the two members or just establish a consistent call-sign. It'd get the community working together more frequently perhaps!
@ Burt- I was fighting the urge to just be dictator/director with a lot of things for risk of poisoning the water but next time I'll have to just be more iron-clad.
Last edited by Lalilulelo; May 3rd, 2009 at 08:41 PM.
Well, I was assigned to random team #2.
I think there were a few problems we ran into. First being the time zones. I don't think any of us were online at the same time. Perhaps if people are matched a little closer together but I guess that involves a lot of extra work for you.
The other was a timing issue at least for me and I have noticed for a few others as well. I think a lot of people participating are in school and the timing of it was ending pretty close to the end of the semester.
On the plus side I learned a lot about working with other people. A schedule would have helped us a lot I think. But hey first time and all. I would definitely do it again I imagine it would be easier the second time around.
I also learned a great deal from looking at the other teams sketchbooks, Mood boards are genius.
Thats about it. Will definitely sign up again if you decide to do it.
My team had the advantage of being able to sit down with each other for the first half and talk face to face. This was also during exams and finals mind you so these talks were mostly between working on those projects.
I must admit I was kinda the weak link in my team and I know I caused some stress with how my final images came in a little later than the rest of my team would have liked, but overall it was a good experience and I'd like to try doing a paint chat for planning if there's a next time, which I sincerely hope there is.
Overall the number of characters and the time frame to finish them in was pretty much right on. Any longer and I think there'd be too big a risk of loosing even more people to real life, any shorter and there wouldn't be enough time to develop or talk with team members.
one third of team Mighty Minkies here. We didn't complete, largely due to my computer buying the farm four days before the extended deadline. I know there were some other major RL issues for cmalidore that gave him limited time to work. So lots of RL issues that prevented us (me, literally) from finishing.
But our experience....
We decided to do some personal sketching/brainstorming to see where we were comfortable, would give each other feedback, and then decided to take two characters apiece to finalize.
I jumped right into sketching characters and brainstorming. If I didn't have the computer failure, I would have finalized and been finished the Wednesday before the deadline. In fact, one character was entirely completed and ready to go.
One thing that is a staple of other CHOWs that I felt was really missing here was the lack of social interaction/feedback for all pieces. Having our own sketchbooks was great for team interaction, but aside from a handful of "good jobs" there wasn't the usual pattern I see of each artist going down the list of all the other artists, giving very helpful critiques and comments. I don't know what the solution to this would be, other than posting a weekly WIP or something in a main thread.
6 characters was good diversity. I think its easily handled if another time is there. 5-6 weeks seems to be ample time, however the extension given was a Godsend, even if we didn't finish. (of course, it should be kept to a number of weeks, as some months are longer than others obviously.) The briefs were perfect.
Our team suffered from RL problems that ate at our time, sometimes even preventing us from communicating regularly in the sketchbook. I'm not sure if some better organization would have been more helpful or not. But in all, we were satisfied with each other and are VERY willing to give it another go. Bring on another Team Chow!
I didn't take part, so my only concern now was the timing. I know a lot of people, myself included, couldn't make it because April can be an intense time in schools, usually the finals hit then. At least it happened to be the busiest four weeks of my year! So I really hope it'll be repeated again, hopefully this summer, because I'd love to participate.
It was an absolute breeze working with Trevor, though to be honest we do have the advantage of pretty much having to be on the same page everyday at work So yeah, communication and planning was not an issue.
4 weeks for 6 characters is PLENTY of time. Even between 2 people that's less than 1 character a week. If it seems like too much to handle but it's still something you really want to do, then figure out a way to make it work. That's really one of the best things these challenges can teach you. I completely understand that real life has a way of changing your plans for you, but learning how to work your way out of seemingly impossible situations can only help you in the long run.
Oh, and the brief was awesome. There were plenty of great details to get the ideas moving and the setting was open enough to really have some fun.
Someone suggested editing links to sketchbook threads into one single post and have weekly summaries posted in the main thread. This sounds like a great idea to get the teams to interact with each other more.
Yeah, definitely count me in for the next round of this (especially if it's the antagonists to this rounds heroes)
a lot of people mentioned conflicting time zones, i never thought about that
i have to admit for marco and i it is pretty easy
we live near each other
have been working together the last year
and would have been getting together to draw anyways as we do a few times a week
long distance work can be rough but i would suggest DLing skype and talking face to face at least a few times during the process
i have found with certain projects i have worked on long distance this helps LOT i know the time zones can be difficult but im sure at least once a week you could organize a team meeting
it makes it a bit more personal and easier to communicate
i was also guilty of not going into enough of the other SBs this time around
i peeked but didnt comment too often
part of it i blame on the fact that we didnt join in the beginning (just completely forgot it was going to happen)
and part i blame on what seemed to have killed a lot of teams, real life.
i really want to see more of these and if i can help that happen i would be more than happy too. maybe teams could select an AD from
pros who are willing to spend some time helping folks get the feel for a real freelance project. (was something like that done for COW before?) the squad decides the theme of the chars and the story and the AD guides them and keeps them on schedule and on topic
just some ideas