Creative Pairs

How the Couple Behind Idiots’Books Really Collaborate

How the Couple Behind Idiots’ Books Really Collaborate

To catch up on the creative pairs series, check out “ Two Is the Magic Number,” the introduction, and “ Two of Us,” a three-part essay on the creative duel between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. To join the conversation, please comment below, tweet #creativepairs, join the creative pairs Facebook page, or follow the author on Twitter.

As part of the series, I’m subjecting a stellar writer/illustrator team—Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr of Idiots’Books—to a series of experiments, stunts, and adventures. The goal is to shed light on the nature of their collaboration—and on the broader questions of relationships, psychology, and creativity. Suggest an experiment here.

In Part 1, we met the Idiots and took them through a battery of psychological tests. In Part 2, we toured the Idiots’ home and studio—the hay loft of a 19th-century barn—with a feng shui master. And in part three, the Idiots sat on the couch for a psychoanalytic session.

Now for part four: To give you a visceral sense of the endless, dizzying, criss-crossing (practically Gordian) way they create and live, I asked Matthew and Robbi for a verbal/visual map of their creative process. What they came up with turned out to both nicely illustrate how they work and to perfectly embody their Idiocy.