Updated: Jun 25
If you’ve been with me since my WordPress days, then you’re probably tired of me going back to this topic, but I’ve recently removed the old blog, since this one is now the one I work on nowadays. So, I’m going to be writing about this again.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ve been writing about bullet journals over and over again, only because I kept starting and restarting this blog for a long time, and I needed to write about them every time. So, I’m writing about it again, so that those of you who are new here, can understand how to start and use a bullet journal.
Alright, so let’s start this. If you’re going to start a bullet journal, start simple.
Plain Jane Is Not A Bad Girl
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told potential bullet journalists to start plain. It’s all fun and games looking at beautiful spreads on Instagram and Pinterest, but the difficulty lies in recreating that piece of artwork. You don’t know where to start, and you’re afraid it’s not going to look the same way as it does on the screen. In fact, because you’re not an artist at all, you’re scared to try.
Like I said, start simple. If you want to get to that level where you can show off your bullet journal, then work your way up to it. Don’t dive in at the deep end. If you do, you’ll eventually tell yourself that bullet journaling is hard, and you’ll stop after the first few days, weeks or months, after you started.
Being simple and boring isn’t bad. In fact, because you’d be so bored by the end of the month, you’ll start getting creative naturally. I learned this when I started bullet journaling. In fact, I forced myself to stay boring for the second month, while I gathered my inspiration for the next one.
Use The Right Materials
There is nothing more frustrating than working with notebooks, pens and pencils that don’t work the way you want them to. For example, you might think that working with a lined book would be fine, but then the lines get in the way, and the boxes, you need to make, look more rectangular. Or, the pen you’re using bleeds right through the paper, or the pencils are too dark, they’d show up even if you inked over it.
Using the right materials ensures that the journal is relatively clean, and you don’t have to contend with holes in your pages, because the pen you used went right through the page. For the most part, I’d recommend Leuchtturm journals, since that’s what I’ve been using for the past few years. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using other journals, like Moleskine, or Collins, but with the number of pages a Leuchtturm has, you won’t run out during the year.
I would also recommend using drawing pens, not the regular ballpoints, or rollerballs. And before you start telling me they're all the same...No, they're not. You can notice the difference between pens, if you look carefully. For example, rollerballs smudge much more easily than ballpoints, since they use liquid ink instead. You’ll know the difference, because ballpoints write with a paste-like substance, and is found in your average freebie pen, or the branded and unbranded pens. Rollerballs have a more liquid or gel consistency, and you’ll know you’re writing with one, because the ink comes out shiny, and then dries to a matte finish, once you’ve used it.
Drawing pens are different, they come out matte already, but they don’t use the same paste like a ballpoint pen does. Think of drawing pens like felt-tips or fibre-tips, but much finer. Actually, they are fineliners, except you can get them even thinner than the standard 0.7mm or 0.5mm fineliners. Brands like Uniball (or Uni-pin) or Sakura Micron do drawing pens that range from 0.03mm to 1.0mm. You’ll find that they’re mostly used for drawing ink sketches like Manga Art or actual illustrations, but they can be used for bullet journals too.
I would recommend them because these pens don’t bleed through a page. However, if you’re sceptical, or you don’t mind the bleed, then a regular rollerball like the standard Uniball or Pilot pens should work just fine. The only reason why it’s important that the pen doesn’t bleed is so that when you make up the next week’s spread, or the next day’s or collection’s spread, then you won’t have to contend with marks from the previous page.
Get To Work
Ok, so I’ll leave the commentary there, because I could go on and on about how to start your bullet journal, but that would simply overwhelm you. For now, I want you to do some homework. Test out some pens at your local stationery and art stores. Keep the sample paper, because then you’ll understand the difference between the pens.
So, if you’re not too fussed about the pen, then ask yourself, questions like, do you like the way it feels, how it writes and the style? If you would like to have a good quality pen, then ask yourself if the pen is scratchy or smooth, do you like the grip, and if you don’t mind the smudge. If you’re after the highest quality, or if you’re going to try to take my advice, then start off with the cheapest you can get. It’s counterintuitive, I know, but when you start, you don’t want to go all out. Like I said, start simple, then build on it. Otherwise, you’re going to scare yourself off, and that’s not what you want to do.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll see you guys next time, when I talk about structure and the way you need to set up your bullet journal. There are many ways you can do it, but it’s mostly about what feels right for you. You can follow the advices given, but in the end, you’re the one in control, and it’s up to you, how your journal looks. So, I’ll see you then!