A drawing done as a collaboration becomes something bigger than the sum of its parts once you put all those parts together. In this exercise, I assigned each of four students a section of the figure and assigned them a scale (1 head=9 inches). They each worked on their own drawing from life, standing side by side in front of the model. A little bit of stretching out was inevitable, since the point of view shifted slightly down the row, but I think that adds a subtle Cubist touch.
Master copies make great collaborative exercises, too. It’s like you’re adding another collaborator, a REALLY good one, and upping the game a bit. This is Honore Daumier‘s lithograph, “L’association mensuelle” covered by four students last year. The upper right portion is entirely made of glitter.
A few years ago I worked as the visual arts coach for ACT Theatre‘s production of the Pitmen Painters. Immediately following the first reading, the actors donned aprons and were thrown directly into painting, just like their coal miner characters in the story. Since the real-life miners had a fondness for Van Gogh (he had lived in mining towns and also shared some of the miners’ provincial spirit, in a good way), I chose Vincent’s Bedroom at Arles. I distributed color printouts of sections of the painting to each actor, taught them to use a grid to copy their bit onto a canvas board, gave them some brushes and previously-mixed acrylic paints and let ’em have at it. The result was actually quite respectable, especially when you consider it was done in about an hour and a half: