You’ve been journaling for quite some time now but your spreads still look messy no matter what you do, it’s incredibly frustrating right? I’m here to tell you that there is a simple and easy solution to this.
Some of the most common ways to improve are by practicing daily but also knowing how to use your art supplies while drawing inspiration from other artists will help you immensely to change things.
Creating beautiful spreads takes time but there are a few bullet journal hacks that will speed up the process.
So, take a look at our best ways to improve at bullet journaling in a shorter space of time that won’t make you feel like ripping the pages from your bullet journal.
I can promise you this, my ways are a lot less stressful than that!
1. Understanding Bullet Journaling
The system of bullet journals is not complex but there are a few points that you do have to keep in mind.
For instance, we know that bullet journals are used to track goals, schedule your work and tasks, stay fit and healthy but mostly to organize your life.
It can be used for many other things and it’s important to realize what YOU are using your journal for.
There are also different kinds of journaling such as artistic, creative, or as a planner, and each of these requires different levels of skills.
Art journals may require more effort and supplies in terms of doodling and creating colorful spreads whereas the other bullet journals are used more simply to quickly write down tasks.
Which of these journals are you currently using? Once you have an answer to this question you’ll be able to decide just how much more you need to learn in order to improve.
It’s a good gauge to see test which areas you need to work on, for example, if you’ve chosen to try an artistic approach, you’ll need the necessary skills when it comes to doodling, painting, and creating artworks.
2. Practice Daily
The most common tip you’ll come across when you want to learn how to improve at anything is to practice every day and this is the best advice you’ll ever get.
The more you practice something, you’ll pick up tips from here and there while also recognizing mistakes and learning how to fix these mistakes.
For instance, if hand-lettering needs work and the titles of your heads look messy, then you’re going to need to practice different fonts and learning to write the alphabets of these particular hand-lettering style.
Practice different spread layouts and sketch them out first before you start inking.
If you want to draw a particular doodle, like flowers, do them a few times and experiment with different shapes to see what looks best.
3. Beware of Common Mistakes
Silly mistakes do matter and you may not know you’re actually doing them or need to be aware of these mistakes.
Over time with the more bullet journaling practice you have, you will start to notice these rookie mistakes but luckily for you, you won’t need to learn them later.
Type of Journal To Use
First off, you’ll want to know what kind of journal to use. For most bullet journals, a dotted grid paper is used with a good enough paperweight that won’t lead to paper bleeds if you’re planning to use heavy markers or pens.
There are other kinds of journals to use such as grid, graph, lined, or even blank paper. All of these notebooks can definitely be used to journal because what’s important is the content not the type of journal.
Different Supplies For Different Techniques
Secondly, choose the correct pens for brush lettering. We won’t go into detail over here but if you invest in a proper brush pen, it will make it easier to create fancy fonts.
Image Source: Cafe Studyy
Third, stop trying too much. You may be looking at multiple Instagram accounts and want to do all of them but you’re going to get burnout, especially, if you’re tracking too many things.
It’s totally acceptable if you skip a day or two of journaling but make sure to only track the items that you really need too.
Lastly, do not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Where they are currently in terms of how they bullet journal or the way their spread looks has nothing to do with you.
It only means that they had more time and practice to know what works and what doesn’t.
They may also have different preferences than you do so all of this does matter. It’s best to not make comparisons because this leads to disappointment, frustration, and you may want to quit.
Recognize the beauty in your own spreads and accept the possibility of improvements where needed and approach bullet journaling with a positive view.
One last thing, if you do make mistakes, it’s really not a big deal.
Head over to our list of ways to fix bullet journal mistakes that will make it seem like there never was a mistake in the first place.
4. Invest In Proper Art Supplies
Bullet journaling can be used with any supplies, however, if your aim is to create really detailed and artistic spreads, you going to want to have a few proper supplies to use.
The most common supplies are:
- Dot Grid Bullet Journal
- Brush pens
- Fineliner pens
- Gel Pens
- White Marker
- Color paper
These supplies aren’t absolutely necessary but it will be in your best interest if you try testing a few of these supplies and see which ones work best for you and what you prefer to use.
5. Learn How To Use These Pens (Hand-Lettering)
Now that you do have the correct pens to create these fancy fonts, you’ll have to learn how to use them correctly.
For instance, you’re going to need to know how to hold the pen, how much pressure to use on upstrokes and downstrokes, how to use two different color pens to create various effects, as well as how to join letters.
Here’s the perfect guide to beginning brush lettering that will improve your knowledge almost immediately:
My one tip for you would be to keep practicing these letters first before joining them. Once you know how to draw the shape of the letter correctly, it will be easier to learn how to join them.
These particular brush lettering sheets are great to learn with and you can grab them for free which is even better!
Brush lettering is incredibly fun and useful to know. As long as you’re enjoying learning these techniques, that’s all that really matters.
Even if this is all you want to learn and apply to your journal spreads, they can definitely change the overall look of the spreads.
In my opinion, they’re really can make a spread look instantly pretty even if there’s hardly any doodles or decorations being used.
6. Use Bullet Journal ‘Cheats’
There are so many journal tricks you can use to achieve a certain look or style of journaling. For example, if you’re not fond of drawing, then try using stickers as a replacement.
If you want to speed up the process and get used to how amazing proper calligraphy or fancy fonts look, then try using a stencil or stamps to write the letters.
Faux calligraphy will give you the same effect if you don’t have brush pens as yet and all they require is a normal marker or pen.
Take a quick look at this faux calligraphy tutorial:
Also by using washi tapes, since they come in all colors and fun patterns, you can use these supplies to decorate rather than spending hours trying to find a good border to draw.
It saves time while making your spread look like a Pro Bullet Journal Instagram page.
You can also opt for using bullet journal printables of weekly spreads if you’re running out of time to drawing them yourselves.
7. Learn To Doodle
Let me just say this, learning to doodle will be a complete gamechanger. Seriously, it’s one of the best things you can make journaling easier.
You can also have a doodle reference sheet to always have ideas on hand. This will be an easier and less time-consuming way rather than having to search for easy ones to doodle.
The good thing about doodles is that they really don’t need to be perfect. The whole point is to draw a cute version of something and you’re good to go.
Here are 50 bullet journal doodles to try that I think will be exceptionally helpful for beginners and those who have been journaling for longer:
Just note one thing is that you don’t need to draw that many doodles on a page. Having 2-3 doodles next to a header or at the bottom of a page can really make the spread look effortlessly perfect.
8. Keep It Simple With Minimalistic Spreads
If you’re just looking for a simple way to bullet journal without having any complicated doodles or headers but really only want to use a few basic supplies, then I’d suggest opting for minimalistic spreads.
Here’s an example of minimalistic spread to give you an idea:
Image Source: Crafty Deesigns
They’re absolutely easy to design and take up less time than most normal spreads.
You’ll also find beautiful designs that are on par with those that tend to use loads of color plus you can have fun experimenting with different shades of grey.
The advantage of minimalistic spreads is that you don’t need to do a lot for a spread to look good but with the use of a few techniques, you’ll definitely fall in love with these kinds of pages especially if you’re completely new to them.
9. Try Using Prompts
If you reach the point where you don’t know what to bullet journal about or if you’re looking for ways to make journaling more fun again, I always recommend using prompts.
Prompts are a great way to actively bullet journal since it encourages you to think and be creative when answering.
You’ll often find prompts being used in daily journaling since there’s an endless amount of ideas and questions to answer.
10. Avoid Overwhelm
The last thing you’ll want to do is start feeling pressured or overwhelmed and it’s incredibly easy to do so when you’re constantly exposed to so much information and new ideas.
Take your time, know your limitations, and start off small. The one thing you can do when you’re a beginner is to stick with the easy stuff.
This will give you the confidence to try new things and you’ll be able to incorporate these simple designs into current layouts while adding to them and making it more detailed because you already have all the skills needed.
Just take your time, go slow, learn the basics, and you’re halfway there.
Also, be sure to focus on one area at a time and this won’t make you feel overwhelmed with learning so much.
If you’d like to learn how to hand letter, watch a few tutorials, if it’s learning how to draw a mood or habit tracker, start sketching a few of these that you see on Instagram.
You could also try following a full monthly journal step up on Youtube that will show you how to layout your spreads. They’re definitely a great help to beginners.
11. Be Creative
Before we wrap things up, I’d love to say that everything is a process and it takes time and patience to learn something new.
Give bullet journaling a chance and your best effort. Soon enough, you’ll realize that the effort you put in was the best choice you’ve made.
Don’t let these bullet journal hacks frighten you. Work through one at a time and you’ll get the hang of it.
Also, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and try new things because this is one of the smart ways to pick up new tricks that will benefit you in the long run.
Go ahead and try new spreads. If you see those complicated mood tracker wheels, attempt it and see how far you can go.
The more you try and the more creative you aim to be, bullet journaling will be a breeze!