Bullet Journaling For The Artistically Challenged

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In March I went to a bath bomb making class with a group of bloggers from Portland. While I was there, I met Cindy, from Classic Sidewalk. Her blog is all about planning an adventurous life, a concept that I found intriguing since I had decided to do something new each month. Anyway. We talked at length about bullet journaling. It was then that I decided that bullet journaling would be my something new for the month of April.

When I looked at Cindy’s bullet journaling posts, I was a little overwhelmed. Her journal was so neat and pretty. I also saw that she regularly did things like calligraphy and painting with watercolors. I felt way out of my league. I love thinking I’m artistic. I also love trying crafts. But to be honest, I have many more Pinterest fails than successes. Needless to say I was a bit worried about what I had gotten myself into.

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Bullet Journaling Supplies

Bullet Journal Basic Supplies

Technically you can use any paper or pen for your bullet journal. However, I wanted to make sure I had the best supplies. I wanted to make sure there was limited bleed through and no smudging. Smudging is the worst. I did a ton of reading on which supplies to get. I decided to start with the minimum. If I liked bullet journaling enough, I could always buy fancy pens and washi tape later.

The Journal

Through all of my reading there were two journals that stood out in the recommendations.

The more budget friendly option is Moleskine. It is readily available at a variety of stores. You can buy a soft cover or hard cover version. The paper comes unlined, lined, dotted or squared. It really provides for a lot of options. Ultimately, I didn’t pick this one because a number of bloggers mentioned that the paper had more bleed through than other more expensive journals. I didn’t want to test out multiple journals so I couldn’t tell you from personal experience whether this is true or not.

I ended up selecting the Leuchtturm1917 for my journal because it had the most recommendations. I had a hard time picking between a soft and hard cover but ultimately went with a hardcover, again, because it was the most recommended option.

The Pens

I know this might sound strange, but I love a good pen. I’m pretty particular about the color and size. It must be black and it can’t be too fine. However when it come to bullet journaling I needed to think about drawing lines as well as writing.

For my pens, I picked up Staedtler Pigment Liners in .3 and .5. Those sizes were recommended across multiple bullet journaling posts that I read. However, after actually using them, I would have gone with finer points. There were other recommendations as far as pen brand including Marvy Le Pen Technical Drawing Pens and Sakura Pigma Micron Pens among others.

For those that want to use color, all of the posts I read recommended the Tombow Dual Brush Pens and Zebra Mildliners. I didn’t buy any color options because I wanted to see if I could get a handle on just the basics of bullet journaling first. The creative part with colors would have to come later, if at all.

The Tools

I cannot draw a straight line even with a ruler. Yes, I said it. How is that even possible? Well the key to drawing a straight line is making sure the ruler is straight. Somehow I can’t manage to do that. Mark me down as an artistically challenged loser. I will be showing you how mine looked here in a minute.

While the ruler only improves my ability marginally, I’m betting you all would have much better luck with keeping your ruler straight.

The journal that I purchased has a cute little pocket in the back, so I ordered a cute small ruler to keep in there. This way I will have the perfect sized ruler with me whenever I decided to work on my bullet journal.

The Extras

Of course, the list of extras that can be used when bullet journaling is endless, but I will highlight a few that were consistently mentioned in posts that I read.

A circler: Used to draw perfect circles in your bullet journal
A protractor: Used to divide your circles into sections
Washi tape: Can be used decoratively as an accent or as page markers and dividers
Stickers: Used to decorate your bullet journal
Practice journal: This is for the hardcore to practice new layouts before using them in their official journal

My Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal Monthly Layout

***Disclaimer: All of my pages were made in the middle of the night when I was dead tired. I’d like to think I’d do better when I was a bit more rested***This first photo is of my monthly overview. On the first page you can see I didn’t divide my day blocks evenly. Also you can see every place my hand wobbled.

Bullet Journal Weekly View

This is an example of one of my weekly pages. Well it was the page with the least mistakes and you can still see quite a few. The section on the right was supposed to be for meal planning, but really it was too small of a space. Later weeks I thought I would use that space to record how much water I drank, but I didn’t use that either.


I am sorry to say that bullet journaling is not for me and I won’t be continuing it after this month. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to devote to it (or the needed skills).Creating perfectly straight lines and error-proof entries is time-consuming. It is also a bit stressful for me. I actually dreaded filling our my bullet journal and wanted to quit after the first week. The one positive that came from this is my new-found appreciation for my planner. It is simple, pretty, and no rulers are needed.



I'm Holly, the creator of Feisty Life Media.

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  1. 11.29.17

    Hah, I love this. I can't draw worth a damn and will never have a pretty bujo. Minimal all the way!