Bullet Journaling

At the beginning of the year, Youtube began suggesting content to me from a community of people centered around bullet journaling. I had never heard of this type of journaling despite it being around now for several years. I started watching hours of videos of people creating their lovely spreads. Most of the time people would add an element of creativity or art to them, sometimes sketching, scrapbooking or painting in their journals, which really interested me. The concept of bullet journaling first began with a fellow named Ryder Carroll, who created the system as a flexible way to organize his life. People took his idea and ran with it, and this more aesthetic way of bullet journaling was what I really latched on to.

So this year, a few weeks into January, I started one!

I did some research and ended up purchasing a journal from Archer and Olive (an A5 dot grid notebook), and it’s been one of my favorite purchases from this year. The process of planning and setting up spreads is shockingly relaxing, and the addition of creative elements is really up my alley. One of my goals this year is to make art every day, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. The idea is to keep the momentum going, and stay practicing, which can mean a large art piece or a small sketch. This journal has been very helpful for keeping up with this goal, not only because I am able to actually keep track of the days that I create art, but because I often do it in this very book.

Below are some of the pages I have done. I’ve had to stop myself from going too far ahead in the year, since I’m already planning pages for the month of April! I think one month ahead is fine, but any more than that and I’ll just be robbing myself of the fun of creating these pages in the future.

I plan each page in pencil, then go over it in pen and add color using marker or watercolor. I enjoy the idea of planning each month with a theme in mind, so February ended up being succulents. I wanted to add gold to each page in the month which I did so with a gold pen and a touch of gold watercolor.

April (which I am planning now) has a coffee shop theme. I have been interested in trying to paint buildings for a while now so that was a good starting point to practice looking at references and taking elements from different images to create a single building.

The painting on the left was created on Arches watercolor paper and using various watercolors (mostly Holbein). I painted it knowing I was not going to outline anything in black as I usually do, because I wanted it to have a softer look. The painting on the right is the cover page for April in my bullet journal, and is using the same types of watercolors but was painted directly on the journal’s pages. The paper reacts much differently, and cannot take much water, but I really enjoy the look that it has. I may even prefer it over the one that I used my nice paper for!

All in all, I’m really enjoying the process of bullet journaling. Do you do any type of journaling? If so, do you prefer a more straightforward approach with writing only? Do you have a favorite way to set up your journal? I’d love to hear new ideas!

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