Surviving a Bullet Journal:
A Guide for the Less Artsy People
By Kyzia Maramara
If you’ve always had that desire to keep a planner but you’ve never had the artistic abilities that seem a requirement in maintaining one, never fear! We’re here to guide you through the maze of planner ideas, pages, and concepts. The only requirement in this one is dedication, if you think you have it, you’re good to go!
Step 1: Pick a planner that’s perfect for you, a.k.a a bullet journal
There are about a hundred different planners out there, and the hundred differing styles might confuse you. Planners with too much design often become too tiring to continue halfway through the year, they’re an eye full. For a person whose forte isn’t art, a bullet journal might be the best bet, it’s the only thing that you can design to suit your needs. You can get a plain journal or a dotted one (dotted ones are better). Bullet journals suit every kind of person because you can literally do anything with it!
Step 2: Choose colorful pens and brush pens and invest in them
If you can’t draw to save your life, compensate with color! You can, for example, write important words in a different color, or write the week days in different colors. Learn brush calligraphy and you’ll find your pages looking beautiful.
The most common brush pens which are also beginner friendly are Tombow dual brush pens, Zig brush pens, Crayola Super Tips, and watercolor brush pens.
Step 3: Get cute printable stickers online
Maybe you can draw, but if it’s the stick figure of a boy and nothing else, stickers will be your saving grace! Get cute printable stickers here on Pinterest or here by Planner Addiction. They’re life savers for when you want to doodle but you weren’t blessed with the doodling capacity. Stickers can act as crutches while you’re learning the ropes of basic drawings.
Step 4: Determine the parts you want to include
Of course the basics would be the calendar part, the weekly planning, daily pages, lists of different goals, and expense page. You can add more sections to your heart’s content. Determining the parts also helps you determine the layout of your desired planner.
Step 5: Learn the art of layout in boxes
The first thing you need to know is that it’s easy. Boxes are easy, right? You can draw boxes to separate the different days on your daily pages, you can have different boxes for your list section, etc. Boxes are basic and they look neat, as you progress to love bullet journaling, you can try other shapes as well. You should also practice making ribbons and wreaths to give your pages a creative look.
Step 6: Simple modern calligraphy is enough for headers
A normal handwritten header can look boring in the long run (even if it’s colorful). Don’t be afraid to venture into calligraphy using even the most basic of brush pens (try the Tombow dual brush pen available in National Book Store and Fully Booked). Check out this calligraphy tutorial here and print out these practice sheets.
Step 7: Photos!
Photos are a great way to document your days without words. If you feel too lazy to write, slap a photo on a page and let it do the talking! It’ll also give your journal a scrapbook feel. Experiment with different colored washi tapes as borders and add short captions.
Step 8: Commit and be proud of your work
Commitment to a one-year planner doesn’t mean a three-month contract. Trust that you’ll finish the year filling out that notebook with your plans. But I guess the beauty, albeit dark, in a bullet journal is you can stop whenever you want and it’ll look okay. You can convert the rest of the blank pages to a normal notebook and then go back to bullet journaling whenever you feel like it. But where’s the creativity and fun in that?
Tell us what you plan to do with your planner this 2018!