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how to bullet journal when you're not artistic

12 Ways To Bullet Journal When You’re Not Artistic

Have you been looking at the fantastic bullet journal spreads but failing to make yours look good? When I first started out at bullet journaling, my spreads could have been so much better if only I knew the correct techniques and little details that could be used to improve the way they look.

So, if you desperately want to know how or ways to bullet journal when you’re not artistic or even if you want to brush up on your skills and take bullet journaling to the next level, then you’re sure to find these tips a win!

You don’t need to implement all of these tricks since just a few of these can really make a big improvement. We’ll also show you spreads that have used these smart bullet journal tips and explain why it matters.

Determine Your Skill Level

Before you begin, it’s a good idea to figure out how good or bad your current spreads are. Let’s say you do want to aim for incredibly pretty spreads, you’re going to need to bust out those meaty artist chops to make this work but these tricks may just do all the work for you.

If you already have a good enough idea of what to do but still unsure how to implement it, we’ll definitely be able to help you with that.

However, if all you can do at the moment is draw a stick figure, don’t stress! Once you’re done with learning these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating beautiful spreads that will make it seem like you are artistic.

Tips To Improve Your Art Skills

Once you have an overall idea of where your current skills are, here are a few quick ways to boost your progress and that will ensure you become better at bullet journaling more quickly.

Watch Videos and Tutorials

One of the easiest ways to improve your skills really fast is to watch what the pros do. Here you can learn plenty of tips and tricks that they use when it comes to designing fascinating spreads.

It’s also a great way to follow their tutorials and the more setups you learn from them, you’ll be able to create your own unique spreads in a matter of time.

There are so many step by step tutorials to learn from and channels that will give you a detailed breakdown on how to set up a monthly spread.

Use these if you just want to have a pretty spread for the month, especially if you’re not too concerned with designing your own spreads but just want to have a good looking bullet journal.

Level Up Your Supplies

Not having the correct art supplies can really impact the way you journal. For instance, with many ordinary notebooks, you’ll often have to face pen bleeds on the other side of the paper which will become unusable.

Most bullet journals these days are able to withstand these markers having pen bleeds and ghosting than if you had to use an ordinary notebook.

Invest a little bit into getting a good bullet journal, a few other art supplies like markers and pens that don’t bleed, as well as a proper brush pen to create beautiful fonts for the headers. You will also need a few other supplies such as washi tapes, stickers, and craft paper to really go all out.

Practice All The Time

The one tip that is necessary to follow that will ensure you actually get better at something is to practice all the time. With the more effort and willingness to learn new things, you’ll definitely get the hang of these much easier than most especially if you put in the work and implement what you’ve learned.

Of course, you won’t always get this right all the time but bullet journaling is such that it’s not as complicated as it may seem. With a few spreads under your sleeve, you’ll definitely notice a huge change from when you first started out.

Ways To Make Your Journal Look Artistic

Now that you have a basic idea of what you can do to improve your skills, let’s learn a bit about the smart tricks you can use that will almost instantly help you create beautiful bullet journal spreads.

See also: What Do You Write In An Art Journal? (7 Genius Ideas)

Use a Ruler

This may seem like an obvious choice but sometimes we can get lazy and tend to just go for it. Make use of a ruler to give you those straight lines and this can really make your spreads look much neater and cleaner than if you had to just eyeball it. There’s really no harm in doing so and it just makes things much easier and simpler.

Add Stickers

A quick and effortless way to make a boring spread look good is to just pop a sticker onto the page. Trust me, this method works so well especially if you’re not good at drawing or doodling.

You’ll find various custom made stickers that will match whichever theme you decide to go for but honestly, they really are quite cheap so you can’t go wrong with this.

For example, this particular spread uses a variety of different potted flower stickers to make her weekly spread look super creative!

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There’s also find stickers for days of the week and this way you won’t need to keep writing them down if you’re short on time. With stickers, you can basically create an artistic spread in just a few minutes.

Try Washi Tape

We’re a huge fan of washi tape since they come in various different colors and patterns.

With just a few pieces of tape stuck to the corner of the page or even used as a border, a spread can instantly look pretty even if you don’t decorate them with loads of colors.

This stunning spread included different kinds of floral washi tapes in between her weekly layout and even though it may look a bit busy, the effect is different yet visually pleasing:

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They’re also incredibly cheap and will last you a long time. In fact, it will be a challenge to finish them off quickly.

Here are a few additional ways to use washi tapes in a bujo spread:

  • Use them as a page divider to separate important pages
  • Color code particular pages with specific washi tapes
  • Create additional pages such as swatch pages to make a bullet journal interesting
  • They’re perfect to cover up silly mistakes in seconds
  • Use washi tape to stick little notes or pieces of paper
  • Can be used to create certain hand-lettering fonts such as the Hollow Out Letters effect

Learn To Create Headers

I’m sure by now you must have seen those awesome spreads with pretty headers that make you drool. Well, that’s known as hand lettering.

A lot of them are created using a brush lettering technique that it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

However, you will need a proper brush pen in order to get certain effects but otherwise, there are many other header designs that are created without brush pens.

If you want to level up your bullet journal spreads, you’re going to need to learn how to write these headers. With just one of these styles, your page can instantly look amazing.

Luckily for you, here’s my favorite way to create bullet journal headers with this detailed tutorial:

Learn To Use Watercolors

Although this medium is tough to use, the reward and end result is no doubt worth all the effort you put in. With a simple watercolor wash or a few drops of color onto the paper, a spread can look fabulous.

You don’t need to create detailed watercolor images to create beautiful spreads but I find that when you add a few color streaks, it can really change the way a spread looks.

Of course, this method is not necessary but if watercolor speaks to you the way it does to me, them I’m sure you’ll become obsessed with learning how to use them.

For those that are interesting in knowing how to use watercolors in a bullet journal, you could always try this particular tutorial:

Just note that this tutorial is quite lengthy and packed with information, so you may need some time to learn everything at once.

My advice would be to just have fun with dropping color onto the paper and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

See also: 11 Most Creative Ways To Make Journaling Fun

Use Highlighters

This is a simple and quick option you immediately implement in your current spreads.

You can either use a mildliner or highlighters to bold certain words, create that pop of color that the eyes get drawn to, use them to add an effect to a header or to create a simple drop shadow around a box or word.

They’re also fun to create borders around the pages and you can do this with a quick swipe around the edges if you don’t have washi tape.

However, my absolute favorite demonstration of how these supplies can make your spreads look out of this world is with this  monthly activity tracker created by Well Ella:

how to bullet journal when you're not artistic fitness tracker

Stick With Simple Layouts (Minimalistic Spreads)

Choose simple layouts that will help you understand more before jumping into colorful artistic spreads and certain minimalistic spreads are perfect for this. They’re much easier to create but this doesn’t mean they’re any less than colorful ones.

In fact, though minimalistic spreads require slightly less effort and time, they can still look as good as the other type of spreads depending on which one you decide to follow.

Opt For Printables

If you’re short on time but still want to make sure your spreads still look good, printables are great for doing so. Here can use custom made layouts to stick in your journal with hardly much effort on your part.

For instance, you’ll find fun monthly cover templates to include where you won’t need to design a new one each month or simple trackers to paste in. There’s plenty of options to choose from.

Also, if you don’t have washi tape or patterned paper, you could also download a printable of these and use them in your journal! It will still give you that epic effect.

Make Use of Stamps

Stamps are great if you don’t have stickers or just want to create a sort of retro vintage theme in a bullet journal.

Though they might be a tad bit time consuming, the overall look once finished is worth giving this option a shot. It’s also an alternative to having to draw certain things out every time.

For instance, take at look at this gorgeous spread by Sarica Studio where she used stamps to create a simple yet stunning header on one page while including other smaller stamps on the next spread:

ways to bullet journal when you're not artistic


It’s easy to make something look artistic if you know a few tricks that work and all of the above ways will absolutely make your spreads look artistic even when you’re not.

If you just opt for including a few of these ideas, you’ll definitely be able to make your spreads look good. The thing is with bullet journaling, you don’t need to do a lot to make something look good, you know?

And you don’t need to have artist-grade skills to design pretty things.

Let us know how these tips worked for you or if you have a few more ways to share with others that we may have missed, leave a comment below!

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  1. I googled “bullet journal for non artsy people” and came across this. Very helpful. Thanks!

  2. Thank you!!! Was feeling discouraged after putting markers to paper after all the inspiration. This is soooooo helpful ?

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