Hey! You made it to my first B&W BuJo Blog! Yay! I’m so glad you’re here! I remember when I first started meddling in this “bullet journal” thing. I had no idea what I was doing. But I wasn’t going to learn anything if I didn’t try… so, here we are now! I see you! 😉

peekaboo.

In my very first blog, I talk about how writing is difficult for me because I’m a numbers person. Well, because I have to use words in my journals, I find balance in putting those words in dedicated blocks or tables where they must stay and cannot escape! *insert evil laugh* hahaha! But no for real though, this makes my heart, my brain, and my eyes happy!

Can you guess what I do for work? If you think it’s something exciting or artsy – guess again. Unfortunately it’s not something a kid aspires to be when they grow up lol. What is it you ask? Well, I’m an Analyst. I mostly build spreadsheets, look at data, and create graphs and charts all day. So this is definitely where this habit comes from.

setup.

Choosing a bullet journal is exciting. It becomes a part of you for 200 pages which sometimes can be 2 years for the occasional journal-er. So let’s start with a few of the most common and popular selections:

There are also tons of other planner companies that offer bullet notebooks as well… and although this is not a post on the pros and cons of each brand, some are better than others in the look and weight of the paper, the build quality of the notebook, and of course, price point.

As much as I love using the Personal Planner notebook as a planner, I would say that my all time favourite would be the Dingbats notebook! I love the way the paper feels, the fact that it has a built-in pen holder, the numbered pages, and the option to easily remove pages via perforated edge. Not only that but this company stands for something good, and I really like that.

If you’d like to try the Dingbats notebook, use any of the links from my page to get 10% off your order, or enter my coupon code “LADYLEYDINGBATS10” at checkout. Currently, I’m using the Blue Whale Wildlife notebook, dotted, in A5+. I think its absolutely adorable and the vegan leather feels pretty amazing.

If you’re a beginner bujo-er, I would definitely recommend either the Essentials Dot Matrix, BookFactory Ghost Grid journal (if you prefer spiral) or an AmazonBasics notebook, since all options are inexpensive. But do some homework, compare the journals, and watch youtube reviews just to be sure.

pens.

I want to point out that finding the right pen to bullet journal with will take some time. Unlike choosing an every day pen, you won’t quite know which pen is right for you until you have worn down your first pen or found your style of journaling.

I went through three different brands of pens until I found the one I love, and I have been using the same ones ever since – these are the Faber-Castell PITT artist pens, in size S (or XS depending how intricate you want your content to be). Most of my spreads are done with the S pen because I think it’s just the right thickness, but sometimes you want to create that distinction in certain lines, such as leaves and flowers.

I obsessed over these pens so much so that these were all I wanted for Christmas from my family and nothing else lol. Just simple $4 pens. I was so happy and genuinely excited to receive them because I really didn’t think my brothers would get them for me haha.

I have tried other pens, such as the Sakura Pigma Micron pens and other Fineliners – and although they are great pens, I didn’t think they were right for my style of bullet journaling. I found they wore down a bit too quickly for me and some of the tips weren’t strong enough on a heavy hand or ideal for repeating strokes.

They are amazing, however, for drawing. I definitely can see the appeal for a real artist to be using these pens or for drafting. But just because I don’t prefer them, that doesn’t mean they aren’t for you. Give them a shot – they are about the same price point at the end of the day so it would really be a matter of preference. Ergonomically, they are almost the same but I do have to give an honourable mention to the Steadtler Pigment Liner because of the extra texture that makes the pen feel a bit more comfortable to hold.

decorate.

If you’re looking to bullet journal in the same minimalistic and uniform style, you’re going to want to start off simple. Simple shapes with simple concepts. Squares for calendars, columns for paragraphs, and one idea per page. This is the most digestible format to start with, and a little can really go a long way. Print if you are still learning calligraphy, and use small caps if you want your look to be inviting and open. Stay true to your font/writing style and just let it flow. You will also want to use a ruler and count squares to maintain balance and spacing.

Another good trick is to count the spaces/dots in your journal so you know where the center is from all sides. Take a minute to do this, even on the last couple pages of your book so it doesn’t seem so randomly placed. You can bookmark that spot too so you can always refer to it. I would suggest the same for pen swatches.

From there you can evolve to much more intricate and elaborate spreads, combining different thoughts together. Some of my most complex spreads almost need to be decoded and are mostly for my eyes only.

It’s like reading the Periodic Table of Elements lol. But I do this only because this is how my brain works. It will take some time and some testing so it’s always good to have a scrap page on the side, or start with a pencil and a solid eraser block. But do what works for you! You might surprise yourself!

I hope this gives you a bit of a leg up to begin somewhere. I’m going to try and post as regularly as I can of all the different spreads or templates I do. Just remember though that some of these templates took some time of really getting to know what worked for me and what didn’t so if something isn’t quite going your way, don’t be discouraged! The content you track via graphs and charts will also make a difference in the outcome and look of your spreads. I would love to see your work by tagging me on Instagram or even by leaving me a simple comment letting me know what worked for you or what didn’t – that would be awesome! I can’t wait to see your creations and the different spins you put in your bullet journals. Maybe one of these days, I will have to try and copy your work too! 😀


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