One of the things I see people saying a lot, especially in bullet journaling groups on Facebook, is some version of “I’m not an artist and I can’t doodle so my bujo is boring”; or “I really want to start a bullet journal but I can’t draw or do fancy lettering” or even “I’m sharing my new layout for xyz. Sorry it’s not very artistic”. And it drives me crazy!
For starters, bullet journaling has nothing to do with being artistic (but that’s a rant for another blog post). It’s meant to be a simple system to help you plan and manage your life. However if you’re not naturally artistic, but would like to add drawings, doodles, lettering and more to your notebooks and journals, I’m here to teach you how you can do that!
Confession: I’ve said for years that I can’t draw and am not artistic. Then I finally told myself to get over it and do something about it. You see, the people we see doing all those artsy things may have an innate talent (maybe), but they wouldn’t get anywhere if they didn’t use it and keep on practising.
Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve decided to exercise my creative muscle and become that artistic creative doodling brush lettering person I want to be. And it did it using the different methods outlined below.
Learn on Your Own Online
The internet is full, no joke, with tutorials and videos to teach you just about anything you want to learn. If you’re self-motivated, you can begin by using these free resources to learn on your own. Here are some of my favourite places to find tutorials and videos.
One Artsy Mama
This was the site that made brush lettering really click for me. She has a number of blog posts for beginners as well as free printable practice sheets. Her most recent post is all about underline flourishing!
The Postman’s Knock
I discovered this site when searching for articles to post over at Craft Gossip, and have been hooked ever since! She also has amazing free tutorials and practice sheets, for both brush lettering and pointed pen calligraphy
This site is my go to for watercolour tutorials. Start with her beginner series to get set up. She also has downloadable freebies and other great watercolour resources, and even some lettering tutorials too.
Random Things to Draw
Usually whenever I want to doodle something I do a quick online search “how to draw…..”, and then use which ever result seems best. But I recently found this Instagram account Random Things to Draw, that has step by step instructions for drawing tons of things!
Oh and they also have a book! Which leads me to:
learn on your own using books
I’ve always said that I can learn anything from a book. Pretty much when I want to learn something new I research the best book I can find. This is changing a bit with the Internet, but there are still some things I prefer to have in paper format. Here are some of my favourites:
I’m working my way through this one right now with my brush lettering project for The 100 Day Project. It’s all posted on Instagram.
This is a very funny one that my son and I like to do together.
Another one I like to use with my son, but it has lots of inspiration for grown up art too.
I don’t own this one yet, but have seen rave reviews about it, and plan to get it very soon. I’m a bit obsessed with wanting to be able to draw plants and flowers!
This is billed as a best seller, and I’ll also be adding it to my bookshelf very soon.
do monthly challenges
Once you start learning techniques, you’re going to want to practice them and I find a very good way of doing this to to play along with monthly challenges on Instagram. Here are a few I recommend (I’m linking to their June prompts)
365 Doodles With Johanna Fritz
Take a Class
Whether online or in person, there’s nothing like having direct instruction from an expert. Classes are good for those who prefer not to learn on their own, or for those who want to take things to the next level. Here are some of the learning websites I love.
This is the site that got me into having a consistent practice. I started off with the drawing class by Lisa Congdon, then fell down the rabbit hole. And it is SO affordable.
Another affordable option with lots and lots of classes, and not just art related. This link will give you two free months to try it out!
You can also purchase individual lettering classes from sites like The Better Lettering Course or The Postman’s Knock
The most important thing however is to keep practising! I fell off with my hand lettering, and when I finally picked it back up again, it was like starting all over. But after being consistent for the last two months, I can see a startling improvement. Take a look at the photos below.
So I don’t want to hear you saying anymore that you’re not artistic. These are skills that can be learned, and you can do it too!
Do you have any favourite classes, books, or websites to share for learning art and lettering?