Starting a Bullet Journal Even If You’re Not Artistic or Creative

You don't need to be a Picasso to start making your bullet journal look good

By Lifestyle Guide

February 26 2021

If you're here, you might have become enamoured with the idea of starting a bullet journal. However, you're stuck because you're unsure whether it is the right idea or not, perhaps as you think you lack the artistic and creative chops needed to beautify your bullet journal. Sometimes you get very inspired looking at the various bullet journal templates on Pinterest and Instagram and wish to make the same or similar spreads. Yet, at the same time, you feel overwhelmed and wonder if you'll be able to do the same for your bullet journal.

Well, thankfully, you don't need to have lots of artistic talent before you can start bullet journaling. Your bullet journal is a private place for you to empty your thoughts, organise your life and brainstorm for sparks of inspiration all around; it does not need to be perfect or be a modern Picasso art piece as long as you feel happy with your bullet journal. In some ways, your bullet journal is a step by step autobiography of your journey and an extension of who you are. 

There are several simple ways for you to start bullet journaling without the need for elaborate and colourful patterns. We'll cover those below, along with some layout examples and ideas. Most importantly, don't let this feeling of not being artistic enough stop you from starting your bullet journal. Before that, it is essential to clearly understand what you want your bullet journal to look like and the difference between that and your current artistic talent.

Know what skill level you are at (and where you aspire to be) 

All of us have different creative experiences ranging from doodling on our textbooks to experimenting with various paints and canvas. Before you start bullet journaling, it's best to figure out how good or bad your current spreads are.

Doing this is simple. You can head over to Pinterest or Instagram to pick and rate three spread examples of any layout on a scale of 1 to 10. First, find one spread example that you would give either a 9 or 10, then find a second spread example that you would give a 5 to 6, and lastly, find a third spread example that you would give a 1 to 4. Once completed, you will be able to visualise the artistic differences among bullet journals better. After that, you can rate your spread examples (or where you think your artistic ability currently lies if you've not started) on this scale of 1 to 10, as well as set a goal of where you want to be. 

Pro tip here: don't get discouraged or stressed out at the moment; understanding yourself is the first step to improving and eventually getting to where you want to be. 

Improving your artistic ability and creativity 

Once you have a better understanding of your artistic ability and how you would want your bullet journal to look like one day, you can take these easy action steps to improve and get better one step at a time!

Watch videos and tutorials on YouTube

There are plenty of free quality resources on YouTube that would be able to guide you in improving your artistic ability, from the basics of drawing and sketching to more intermediate step-by-step tutorials of how to draw elaborate shapes and patterns. Besides that, take a look at bullet journalling videos and tutorials on creating minimalistic spreads for your bullet journals or those that guide you in designing bullet journal spreads. We'll include a list of resources that you can check out at the bottom of this article.

Watching these videos and tutorials will help you improve your artistic skills and bring your bullet journal to the next level slowly but surely. You can follow along with some of these tutorials on your bullet journal, especially if you're not too bothered about having a unique design on your spreads and simply want something that looks awesome.  

Get better supplies to rock your style  

If you're stuck with only a pencil, eraser and blue pen, it's going to be difficult to get your bullet journal from a 1 to a 5. Having the right supplies can go a long way in helping make your bullet journal stand out without too much effort, and you don't have to break the bank either to get more highlighters, stickers, markers and pens that don't bleed and other essential supplies. 

The most important thing that you'll need would be a good notebook, of course. Most ordinary notebooks do not have quality paper and will result in pen or marker bleeds onto the next page, resulting in quite a messy looking bullet journal. 

Hence, please make a small investment to be well-equipped with some essential supplies for your bullet journal, as that would most certainly help you get your bullet journal to the level you want it to be. After all, a painter is only as good as his brush.


Easy ways to make your Bullet Journal look artistic

Now that you have the right mindset and the right supplies, here are some simple ways you can adopt to make your bullet journal look artistic and creative with minimal effort. 

Use stickers and stamps for quick illustrations 

This is one of the quickest and effortless ways to spice up your bullet journal and make it shine. This method works very well if you want to do as little drawing and doodling as possible but still want your bullet journal to look pretty - use stamps if you're going to go for a retro look and stickers to go for a themed look.

You can easily get some stickers and stamps from your local craft or stationery store. However, a better option would be to get unique ones from Etsy where there's plenty of unique, designed stickers of any theme.   

Use washi tapes to add patterned textures 

Using washi tapes is another way to brighten up your bullet journal in a cheap yet effortless way as they come in various colours and patterns. You can use them as patterned borders and page dividers, colour code pages and sections, cover silly mistakes with them, or simply paste them around to add a multi-layered dimension to your page. 

Use highlights for the colour pop 

This is a quick and simple solution if you already have multiple coloured highlighters ready. Using mildliners or highlighters would allow you to add layers of colour that your eyes get drawn to - you can use them to bold important words and add effects to headers by underlining or adding drop shadows to them. Another way to use them effectively would be in charts and graphs such as activity and goal trackers. 

Pro tip: Create an overview spread of all your colours (pens, markers, highlighters) and washi tapes for easy reference when you're deciding on which to use. You can even add stickers to the overview if you have a large enough collection. 


Stick to simple and minimalistic layouts  

If you're just starting out with bullet journaling, it's best to stick to simple and minimalistic layouts while utilising some of the above ways to beautify your pages. This helps to reduce your frustration and anxiety, especially if you are trying to emulate some of the attractive bujo designs that caught your eye on Instagram. 

Using simple layouts make it much easier for you to get started, and they are not necessarily any less beautiful or eye-catching than the ones you see featured on social media. Most importantly, you just have to get started without fussing too much about the details, and your bullet journal will get better and more beautiful over time. 

Go for bullet journal printables if you want to save time and effort 

This method is for those who are really short on time and unable to spare too much effort in designing their bullet journals yet still want their spreads to look great. You can choose from ready-made and well-designed spread templates with bullet journal printables before simply printing them for your use. There are plenty of attractive options on Etsy that you can shop around for at your leisure. 


Even if you're not artistic, there are plenty of ways that you can make your bullet journal look professionally and stylistically done with the few tips and tricks mentioned above. You can actually get started with very little to make your spreads look good. 

With the right mindset and enough practice, rest assured that you will indeed improve your design and artistic skills over time, and soon, you'll even be coming up with unique bullet journal spreads that others will envy on social media.