I know I’m new to the bullet journal game, but I’ve been using planners/journals for years. And even though I want to add all sorts of new goodies to my pencil case… I’m finding myself sticking to some of the same tools. So if you’re thinking about starting a bullet journal, look around and see what you already have. You probably already have colored pencils, decent pens, and a notebook that has gathered too much dust. I’d advise you start there, just so that you don’t invest in a ton of new stuff that you may not keep up with. Don’t be caught up in all of the fancy stuff, but start with the basics, and add more as you learn more and get the hang of it.
I actually took my own advice, and started with some things that I already had or used before. And I only added new stuff when I knew that I would continue to use them, and that they were of high quality. So here they are–my essential tools for the Bullet Journal.
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As much as I wanted to get the Leuchtturm1917, I’ve always used moleskines, so I stayed with it. So maybe I have to write my own page numbers and create my own table of contents. Seriously–not a big deal. I actually like writing my own page numbers. Because what if I had one that was pre-written, and I messed something up, and want to rip out the page? Well, now I have a weird missing page. So don’t worry about it. Just write your own page numbers.
I actually prefer the squared to dotted, because it helps me draw more precisely. But once I’m done with my current journal, perhaps I’ll try the dotted moleskine, or the Leuchtturm1917.
Pens – Sharpie pen and Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pen
Believe me, I was using sharpie pens as soon as they were invented. I loved the fine tip point, the fact that it doesn’t bleed through, and the ease with which they write!
But sometimes I wanted even finer lines. Like when I’m drawing finer details, or want to create boxes for sections, but don’t want it to be too thick. So I bought the Sakura 30061 3-Piece Pigma Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set, Black. These pens are archival quality ink meaning that they won’t bleed through. They’re delicate enough to use on thin Bible pages! The Sharpie, in contrast, is thicker and will bleed through slightly on Bible pages. The Sakura pens also come in different colors but don’t go too crazy because they can get pricey.
Coloring – Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils and Tombow
I’m not sure if I got this exact set, because I bought my set back in 2009 or so. I like these for a couple of reasons:
- No need to sharpen!
- It feels almost like a crayon, but still blends well like colored pencils.
- They seem to last forever! Like I said, I’ve had my set for almost eight years, and they’re still going strong! Granted, I’m not the best artist so these are used more for highlighting, or coloring in small details. I’m not drawing tons and tons of stuff. So if you’re using them occasionally, a set like this should last you a while.
I bought my first Tombow Dual Brush Pen back in May (before I started bullet journaling) because I was interested in picking up brush lettering as a hobby. I watched countless videos, read numerous reviews, and concluded that these were the best out there. The dual brush allows you to write finely, and then embellish with the brush tip. The brush tip is also very responsive. The only word of caution I have is that the tip may start to split hairs due to overusage. That happened when I use the black for five days straight practicing my brush lettering. So either get more black pens, or be careful of the way you use the pen and make sure that you’re properly using and storing them.
That’s really it for my essentials! I also use washi tape, make my own stickers (the cheapo way with shipping labels and a color printer, maybe a future post on that), but when it comes to the bullet journal (or any journal/planner) for that matter, you just need the basics: a notebook, pen(s), and color.
What are some of your essentials when it comes to the bullet journal? Do you use any of these essentials that I’ve mentioned? How do you like/not like them?