5 creative websites to collaborate with strangers to create cool art and other projects
An “Exquisite Corpse” is a fun and creative exercise where people add words or pictures to an original thought to create a new work of art. These free online apps let you collaborate with strangers or friends to create something new and awesome.
Whether you’re writing a book, directing a movie, or composing a song, you can’t do it all on your own. There will be people you need to include on your trip. Any creative pursuit is at its best when you take a synergistic approach. The internet, of course, makes it easier than ever to collaborate with others on creative projects.
1. WriteAlong.io (Web): Write a story online together by voting
If you want to get creative when it comes to writing, WriteAlong is a community for building a story with other people online, step by step. The great part is, you don’t necessarily have to be a writer yourself, but it helps if you are.
Once you have an account, check the Projects page for active WriteAlong projects. The original author defines the name and the premise of the project, but everything that follows comes from the community. Anyone (including the original author) can add things like characters, places, ideas, and events. The community votes for the ideas they like, and the most voted wins.
Once the elements were agreed, the community would vote on the ideas for the first chapter, then everyone would be free to write and submit it. Again, the community votes for the best of them, and this winner forms the basis of the story so far. Depending on the winner, the ideas in the next chapter are put to a vote, after which they will be written down and put to a vote, and so on.
It’s a great community for writers and those who don’t know how to write themselves but who like to have ideas. So submit your ideas; you might find writers online who are building the story and maybe even exploring areas that you hadn’t thought of before.
2. Land of monsters (Web, Android, iOS): Create a monster face by drawing with friends
You might have played this game when you were a kid in school, dodging the watchful eyes of your teachers. You draw a monster face on a piece of paper, pass it to a friend who adds arms, then pass it to another friend who adds a body, and so on. Monsterland is the online version of this classic and is also available as an app.
The lobby presents all the works in progress by artists from all over the world. You can join any public group to draw, which are sorted by monsters that need heads, bodies, or legs. If you choose a body, you cannot see the head or the legs. This is the fun of the game because you draw blind and then compile it to create a crazy creation.
The drawing tools are simple, with a color palette, different sized brushes, and an eraser. You can create private groups in Monsterland and invite friends to keep it a safe space. Check out the Hall of Fame to see the cool things others have done, or visit My Monsters for your own collection of creepoids.
3. Plink (Web): Make music online with strangers or friends
Groups often talk about the joy of playing with other musicians to find sounds that enhance the original melody. Plink is a web application to get a taste of this, but you don’t need to know how to play an instrument. All you need is a working mouse.
Online players at Plink are given a random name to control a type of synth sound (there are eight to choose from), which is played each time you click. As you move your mouse up and down, the pitch and tone change. Meanwhile, other players are doing the same thing online, so you ‘fall out’ with them as you all create a unique melody.
It’s all backed up by a consistent beat to add that little spice to your music. You can also create a private room and invite your friends. Plink is insanely addictive and you are almost guaranteed to spend a lot of time playing with it.
Of course, Plink is a more relaxed and fun way to make music online, rather than with any instrument. If you want, there are some great apps for playing online with friends and strangers, like JamKazam and Jamulus.
4. Half-bakery (Web): Share half-baked ideas and improvise on them
Do you sometimes have a brilliant idea and think it should be shared with the world so that others can contribute and improve it? And who knows, what if someone succeeds? You will love Halfbakery.
Halfbakery is called a “common database of original and fictitious inventions”. The idea is to put your genius forward, whether in the form of satire or creative expression. Once you’ve created an account and written down an idea, other users can leave comments on how to improve it, if similar things already exist, or other ways to build on them. And of course people can vote whether it’s a good idea or not.
You can browse existing ideas by votes, category, date, or tags. The “random” button is a good way to browse the site and improvise on what others have already shared. From self-styling hairstyles to traditional Christmas dinner services, it’s a riot.
5. Panel blocking (Web): Make comics by collaborating on panels
Panel Jam is a great resource for comic book artists to develop their skills and even meet collaborators online. The idea behind the online community is to create a three to six panel story where anyone can contribute a panel.
The simple motto “see a sign, draw a sign, pass it on” tells you everything you need to know. You can browse a variety of current and recently submitted panel jams to find something that inspires you. Claim it, start drawing the next panel and submit it.
The drawing tools are pretty basic, like a brush, shapes, color palette, and text input. For best results, you’ll want to use it on a touchscreen device with a stylus. You cannot upload your own creations offline. But think of it more as a space to practice your drawing and learn how to draw web comics with others.
Go beyond apps and create your own exquisite corpse
These websites are a playground for exercising your creative muscles and collaborating on fun projects. But you don’t have to rely solely on websites to embrace the exquisite corpse practice. You can participate in a video call with friends or even make similar efforts in person.
The technology helps give you new ways to try the method. In fact, the way you use technology for this is a creative exercise in itself. For inspiration, check out Mitchell Rose’s Exquisite body, where a group of 42 dancers made a video of various dance moves, taking off from where the last one left off. Choose your art form, use technology to ‘skip the trick’ and get creative!
Creative teams depend on the free flow of ideas. If you’re part of a remote team, these free apps will help you collaborate on new ideas.
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