I have always told my students that there are no mistakes in art, only opportunities. Sometimes we get frustrated when our work doesn’t look visually appealing. We start over and over till we get it right. However, there are times when our perceived mistakes can become something more. It’s wonderful to know that with each failed attempt lies many new successes. Art is a growing process where every step backward means leaps forward in many aspects. It’s nice to take a step back and enjoy your work, and say, “this is good”.
I recently had a setback myself. In one of my bullet journals, the spine broke. It was being held together by the jacket. I was devastated. All my work, my drawings, my logs were gone. I had to decide whether to fix this journal or start a new one starting with the month of May. I use my journal every day for appointments and schedules, to-do lists so I was freaking out just a tad, but every cloud has a silver lining. I decided not to purchase the same journal and take a chance on a new one. I am so glad I did.
When I received my new journal it was a sigh of relief. I flipped through the blank pages and I now had a new focus. This journal was different. The NUUNA has a soft cover, numbered pages, white paper, smaller dot grid but it also has the same 120gsm weight paper as my previous journal and it doesn’t have a pocket in the back. I prefer a hardcover and I don’t really need the pocket in back, but all-in-all it is going to take some time to get adjusted to the new journal but I really like it. In preparation to put pen to the new pages, I had to reflect on my experiences up until now. I had ample time to study all kinds of layouts and spreads, I put together a few journals to practice these techniques. I practiced different themes, color pallets, lettering styles, embellishments, papers; tested pens, markers, watercolor paint and I think I finally found my voice visually speaking.
After all of the trials and errors that I have made I have finally come up with a style that is all my own. When it comes to the hand lettering I’m terrible at it. I’m not going to lie my handwriting is atrocious, which is why I draw everything in pencil first and then ink the final design. I have often used vellum or other paper that I print out with different fonts for my scrapbooks to give it a clean look. However, I sometimes feel this detracts from the whole handwritten bullet journal movement. I also believe that the journal is a record of yourself and to have the handwritten notes will become a treasured keepsake for future generations. I also thought that if I use vellum in my journal, it should be used as a motif where I could use different fonts and add some texture and depth to the bullet journal pages.
That being said I’m trying to combine all of these aspects in my journal. I have thought about keeping it simple doing a minimalistic layout keeping it simple and clean. Going back and looking through the old journals, I was able to pull out the elements that really really spoke to me. I had a plan to create my headers for my weekly layouts with my doodles and drawings keeping them in one place as to not clutter the entire page. I also put in a two-page spread, where the left facing page is artwork for the month and the facing page is a vellum monthly calendar designed with the theme for the month. To keep the continuity for the monthly themes, I used mini vellum calendars to create the mood trackers and habit trackers. In some months there is space for adding photos and journaling, which I love because it allows me to incorporate a mini scrapbook into the journal reflecting on the events of the month. In addition, placing a quote here and there for inspiration adds an uplifting touch.
So even though I thought I had a major setback, it turns out it was the best thing that could have happened. I was able to reflect on my experiences and formulate a new plan that works for me and for my bullet journal. Now I can track the things I need, plan my appointments, incorporate my art and photography, keep personal and professional notes all in one handy journal.
I am using a NUUNA Voyager L journal which has white 120gsm paper and light grey dots. The paper is the thickest out there besides the Lemome. It holds up to most pen and ink without ghosting and light usage of watercolors. It’s a win-win in my book. One of my readers told me she used a little portable printer that prints 2×3 sticky photos to use in her book. I tried one manufacturer but landed on a Canon Selphy printer. The images are color correct to your smartphone which satisfies my high photography standards. In my next post, I will go over the supplies that I have used and share what works what doesn’t. Till next time keep journaling and as always make time to create.