Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

Creative Leadership and Collaboration

Es Devlin

Lesson time 15:08 min

Es reveals her approach to creative collaboration, both with her team and the artists who have commissioned her work. She teaches you the kind of leadership that takes place at all phases of a project, from early meetings to building a successful team.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Creative Leadership and Collaboration • Create A Space For Growth • Picking Projects • Working With Collaborators • Build Trust • Working With Budgets


[MUSIC PLAYING] The work of being an artist, the work of being a stage designer fluctuates. You're alone. And then you're with a few. And then you're with many. Surrounded by a happy, comfortable chaos of inspiration. And then I have my immediate collective of associate designers who join me. I'm surrounded by people who not only help me communicate my own ideas but bring their ideas to the process as well. And then, when we take a project out into the world, we might be joined by 300 people. And this is a gorgeous expansion and contraction of the artists and designers worlds that make it so rich. There is nothing about the room that you see behind me that is normal. What is normal is that this room is full of people because usually I work with eight associate designers in my immediate studio, which is in my front room in my house. And they come in every day. And we work together. We eat together. And they will take sketches like this and sketches like this, and they'll turn them into drawings that are done in two dimensions and in three dimensions. And they'll also work through ideas with me. These ideas are made in conversation. They're made in dialogue. There is very little of what I create in the studio that I do on my own. My team within my studio are a group of, fluctuating, between 6 and 10 associate designers. And they have been brought in piece by piece, year by year. And we're a group who have learnt a shared language over the course of a number of years. And these are people who love the versatility, the flexibility, the variety that they experience in any given day. So they might one day be with me on set in Abu Dhabi or in Los Angeles making a large-scale piece of work. Or they might be in the studio, head down all night, building a model or working through these sketches or drawing things or rendering things on the computer. So there's quite a lot of variety. And yeah, it really requires all of their analytical minds. The people who come here really love to think as well as to make. And it's in that meeting point between thinking and making that the studio really exists. In fact, there's a series of drawings that really will help explain to you how this process works. I worked through a play called "Chimerica" in 2013. And I drew each scene. And at the same time, my colleague, the theater director Lyndsey Turner, worked through the play, and she drew each scene. And then we put our drawings together. And as we got from scene to scene, our ideas evolved with each scene, and the drawings evolved with each scene. So by the end, we had something that really was a combination of my hand, her hand. And then, the hands in my studio, the people who work with me, then went and took it on forwards to becoming 3D drawings into becoming a model and into becoming discrete drawings of each piece that needed to be built. And it's that level of minutiae that involves the number of people that you can...

About the Instructor

For more than 20 years, Es Devlin has sculpted immersive experiences for opera, drama, and performers like Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and U2. Now the artist and designer shares her process so you can cultivate creativity in any form. From sketching to collaborating to creating powerful visual stories, learn how to turn the abstract—your ideas and imagination—into art you can see, feel, and share.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Es Devlin

Designer and artist Es Devlin teaches you her approach to creating powerful visual stories and cultivating creativity in any form.

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