Find Your Unique Style: The Post-It-Note Method for Digital Artists

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Content Creation

Are you a digital artist that’s struggling on finding your unique style that sets you apart from the crowd. Knowing that this style becomes your signature, your brand, your ‘niche’.

But where do you start?

Enter the Post-It-Note method of brainstorming!

Sidenote: although this technique can be applied for almost any type of creator, I’m focusing on a digital artist. If this technique interests you, but you’re not sure how to apply it, see the last sentence in the article.

Why Post-It-Notes?

There’s something almost magical about the act of physically writing ideas down. It’s a process that can actually stimulate creative thinking and help solidify abstract concepts in a more tangible form. But why is it so effective, particularly for brainstorming? Let’s break it down:

Tactile Experience: Writing with pen and paper (or in this case, a marker and Post-It notes) involves physical movement, and this tactile experience can enhance cognitive engagement. It’s a bit like how some people learn better when they’re doing something with their hands — the process of writing can help ideas flow more freely.

Visual Aid: Post-It notes offer a visual way to organize your thoughts. You can physically move the notes around, group them, stack them, or spread them out. This kind of visual arrangement can make patterns and connections more apparent than they might be in a digital document or tool.

Focus and Minimizing Distractions: Unlike digital devices, Post-It notes don’t have pop-up ads, social media notifications, or an irresistible urge to check your emails. This means less distractions and more focus on brainstorming.

Creativity and Freedom: With a digital tool, you might feel constrained by the structure of the tool itself. With Post-It notes, you have the freedom to jot down thoughts quickly, doodle, color-code, or even crumple up an idea you don’t like. This freedom can encourage more creative thinking.

Neuroscience Perspective: Research suggests that the act of writing by hand can stimulate parts of the brain associated with learning and memory. By writing down your ideas, you’re more likely to remember them, and if you’re like me, you’ll end up on tangents of one idea leading to another idea and another idea.

No doubt, digital tools have revolutionized our daily tasks with their usefulness and convenience. Yet, when it’s time to let ideas rain down in a brainstorming session, it’s the trusty duo of pen and paper that truly shines.

By using Post-It notes, this method allows you to record your ideas quickly on small pieces of paper and move onto the next one as your ideas will tend to flow faster. Then to see your ideas visually on your wall, you’ll better recognize the connections and patterns that might lead you to your next great idea to explore.

Five Types of Digital Artists to Benefit from the Post-It-Note Exercise

AI-Assisted Artists: Artists like those using Midjourney’s AI-based art platform can significantly benefit from this method. They can use Post-Its to brainstorm different ways to guide the AI in generating unique pieces of art. They can explore themes, moods, color schemes, or even different input images to feed into the AI. This method will help them to better understand and harness the power of AI in their creative process.

Illustrators: Digital illustrators who work on projects such as book covers, posters, or graphic novels can use this method to brainstorm fresh ideas and themes. They can also use it to identify and refine their unique illustration style that sets them apart from the competition.

3D Artists: For 3D artists who create characters, environments, or props for games, movies, or animations, the Post-It-Note method can be invaluable for visualizing and exploring new design concepts, styles, or even entire virtual worlds.

Motion Graphic Designers: These artists create animated logos, promotional videos, and explainer videos. The Post-It-Note method could help them come up with fresh ideas, narrative structures, and visual themes for their projects.

Digital Painters: They use software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to replicate the techniques found in traditional painting. The Post-It-Note method can help them explore new subjects, diverse styles, play with colour palettes, and refine techniques to push their digital painting skills to new heights.

In each of these cases, the Post-It-Note method provides a hands-on, visual, and highly flexible way to generate, organize, and explore creative ideas. It’s a tool that can adapt to the unique needs and creative processes of all kinds of digital artists.

AI generated image of an embossed metal background with an eyeball in the bottom right corner.

Exercise to Experiment With:

Step 1: Clear a wall in your workspace, get a stack of Post-It notes ready.

Step 2: Take at least 5 minutes and look though your portfolio. Your only purpose here it so look at what you’ve already created. Then write down the common themes, elements, and techniques you see, each on a separate Post-It note.

  • Do you find yourself often drawing futuristic cityscapes?
  • Or do you prefer creating whimsical characters?
  • Do you prefer creating in the style of a graphic novel?

Jot it all down and slap it on your wall. Do this quickly.

Step 3: Now close your eyes and look outside your work.

  • Is there a specific artist or art style you are drawn to?
  • Do you adore the dynamic lines of Art Nouveau, or are you captivated by the bold colors of Pop Art?

Write these influences on separate Post-Its as well and get it on your wall.

Step 4: Look at the Post-Its and start grouping them to a blank area on your wall. As you start grouping them, you’ll start to see a pattern and these patterns will represent a reflection of your current artistic preferences.

For a Midjourney artist, consider grouping the notes based on common themes, subject matter, or visual styles that you notice. Look for connections between the notes that align with your current artistic preferences.

For example, you might find that several notes revolve around futuristic cityscapes or vibrant abstract compositions.

  • Ask yourself how these groupings are connected with one another.
  • Are there any unexpected combinations or intersections that excite you?
  • Are there combinations of subject matter that interest you? such as a cat’s head on a horse body. I’ve always wanted to see what that would look like.

These patterns could unveil a distinctive artistic direction or fusion of styles that could define your Midjourney creations.

Step 5: Analyze these patterns. Do you see a unique mix that could become your niche? Maybe you love both cityscapes and Art Nouveau — could there be a unique style there?

Other Ways to Apply the Techniques:

Quick Ideas: Imagine you’re in the middle of a brainstorming session, and an idea strikes. With Post-It notes, you can quickly jot down this idea before it flutters away. You don’t have to navigate through any apps or tools and run the risk of forgetting your idea.

Doodles & Drawings: Sometimes, words just don’t cut it. With Post-It notes, you can doodle or sketch your ideas. Picture an idea swirling in your mind. Before it gets lost, quickly sketch it on a 4×4 Post-It note so you don’t get caught up in the details.

Color Coding: Want to categorize your ideas or thoughts? Easy-peasy with Post-It notes. You can use different colors to group your thoughts by theme, importance, or any criteria that make sense to you. Blue for landscapes, pink for portraits, green for abstract art, perhaps?

Expression of Emotions: Got an idea that you loved initially, but now it doesn’t seem quite right? Crumple it up! There’s something satisfying about physically discarding a note that isn’t working out. It’s a literal way of ‘letting go’ of an idea. This is one of my favourites.

Non-Linear Thinking: Unlike digital tools, where you often have to fill in fields and boxes, Post-It notes allow you to jot down ideas in a non-linear way. This can be incredibly freeing and can open up new pathways of thinking that might have remained untapped in a more structured digital environment.

Remember, creativity isn’t a straight line. It’s a series full of upside down backflips, twists and turns. And that’s where the humble Post-It note shines — it embraces the chaos of the creative process!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I buy Post-It notes in bulk. 😂

Wrapping it Up

Remember, your niche is an extension of you. It’s not just about what’s popular or trending, it’s about what sparks joy and passion within you and that will help define who’ll be the people that will buy your art. So go ahead, grab those Post-It notes and pens, clear out that wall, and let your artistic journey unfold in bright, sticky notes of inspiration.

Would you care to share how your brainstorming session? After all, every artist’s journey is unique, and your story could be the inspiration someone else needs to start their own Post-It-Note exploration.

And, if you’d like me to create an Post-It note experience for your specific niche, let me know!

Until next time, stay inspired!



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