Showing Early Work

One of the best things to do as a creative artist is to show embryonic work. It’s also one of the worst things .

I don’t want to humble-brag so I’ll just flat out brag…one of my artist super powers is being able to survive the torturous but usually productive process of showing work in it’s formative stage and getting helpful feedback.

Like everything in life, there are many right ways to  do this. And there are wrong ways…oh and some truly terrible ways. After a lifetime of doing it, I’d like to pass on some principles that have helped me…please, if you have any tips to get good, early feedback, add your two cents in the comments.


1. have a reward picked out for doing this. This is very important.

2. write out what you hope to get help with. do not think this in your head. write this on paper. very important


1. to the right people

do not show to family or friends. most people (as in 99.9%) cannot see how things could be. pick your audience carefully.

2. at the right time

even if you pick carefully, sometimes you or the person you’re showing to is having an off day. do not take this personally.

3. with the right words

people only see what they see. but you can tell your audience this fact. it helps. usually.


1. this is hard, there is nothing that will change this

2. you have to show your work sooner or later, sooner (but not too soon!) is generally better

3. whatever you do, don’t stop working on your art


1. next step, decide what will do next time (even if this changes, say it. tell someone. commit.)

2. now go reward yourself, you did something huge.

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