Neil Gaiman has long sought a way to interact more directly with readers. Now, through a partnership with Blackberry, the renowned fantasy author is turning directly to his fans for input.

The author has revealed the concept for his latest work, A Calendar of Tales—a series of 12 short tales, aligned with the calendar and inspired by his fans. Oh, and illustrated by them, too. The project is a part of a promotion for the Blackberry 10 called Keep Moving, a creative campaign that promotes fan interactivity as part of the works of three major artists: Alicia Keys, director Robert Rodriguez, and Gaiman.

Keys' campaign involves fan-submitted photos, Rodriguez's is still under development, and Gaiman's is already garnering hundreds of submissions, as fans upload their fanart for his stories to Twitter, deviantArt, and Tumblr. The stories themselves are bite-sized tidbits available for download in PDF form or as a Soundcloud playlist.

Gaiman began the project by asking his followers a simple series of questions related to the months of the year:

  • Why is January so dangerous?
  • What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in February?
  • What Historical figure does March remind you of?
  • What is your happiest memory of April?
  • What is the weirdest gift you’ve ever been given in May?
  • Where would you spend a perfect June?
  • What is the most unusual thing you have ever seen in July?
  • If August could speak, what would it say?
  • Tell me something you lost in September that meant a lot to you.
  • What mythical creature would you like to meet in October?
  • What would you burn in November, if you could?
  • Who would you like to see again in December?

From there, he spun stories around the answers. Now, the fans are returning the favor and illustrating the stories.

This collaborative concept is simple, one that fandom has been doing for many years with a fic-writing challenge called Big Bangs, wherein authors write stories and artists illustrate them after the fact. It's also similar to the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, a popular collaborative project now in its third mass-published volume. To create Tiny Stories, members of Joseph Gordon Levitt's creative social network HitRecord submitted stories of a few sentences to the project's creator, the elusive artist wirrow, who then gave them fittingly whimsical illustrations.

DeviantArt is promoting the challenge with special site badges and free journal skins for a limited time, all sponsored by Blackberry. The moment is ripe for a corporate-sponsored collective project like this; Samsung's ad about collaboration, Tim Burton's unicorn apocalypse, aired during the Oscars. And the collaborations are already paying off in the form of beautiful artwork for all of us to enjoy.

Here are some of our favorites from the plethora of Gaiman fanart we've already seen:

January

Illustration by taho/deviantArt

February

Illustration by myart1992/deviantArt

March

Illustration by jazzhutch/Twitter

April

Illustration by jodichamberlain/Tumblr

May

Illustration by marelbarends/Twitter

June

Illustration by seanvongormanart/Tumblr

July

Illustration by mumpitzhausen/Tumblr

August

Illustration by jodichamberlain/Tumblr

September

Illustration by Priscilla Peeters

Illustration by snowapplesart/Tumblr

October

Illustration by rustyarm/deviantArt

November

Illustration by moonvoodoo/deviantArt

December

Illustration by pejie/deviantArt

Illustration by jesanderson/deviantArt