I have been doing a lot of experimenting and playing with watercolor in my bullet journal. Many mistakes were made but I am excited to share my findings with you today. Overall, there are 3 important tips to take into consideration. Okay, maybe 4 – always use what you have first. If you don’t have any of my recommendations below and are running into problems, do not hesitate to reach out. I am also sharing my YouTube video if you want to listen or see what I look like… 😛
The Bullet Journal
Most important is your paper quality. Archer and Olive and Scribbles That Matter have 160 GSM, bright white paper. This means that they hold water well and the colours really pop on the paper.
If you are using a bullet journal like a Moleskin or a Leuchtturm, you are going to want to use watercolour paper and glue that into your journal.
Another option is the Archer and Olive block pads that they recently released. It is basically their bullet journal paper in block pad form.
There are many, many options for watercolor paints. There are tubes, liquid, pans,pens, and pencils. For me, I found the pencils and the pans were the easiest to use in the bullet journal. The pencils were super easy and straightforward to use (see “Technique” below). When using the pans, I could more easily control the amount of water that went on the page than with tube or liquid.
My favourite watercolor paint to use in general is tube, but you end up squeezing out way more than you use. If you already have watercolor paint tubes, you can always just add water to it the next time you want to use the colour. That is probably my favourite part of watercolor paints – no wasted supplies!
The most important technique you need for using watercolour in a bullet journal is to work fast! And I mean FAST! The paint dries extremely quickly and if you are trying to blend, you are very limited by the dry time. Yes, you can add more water but you want to do so sparingly as you don’t want to warp the page and ruin the journal with too much water.
As mentioned above, you want to limit how much water you’re using. It will warp the page and potentially ruining the following pages because, well, it’s water.
Next, keep paper towel close by. You can dab your brush to remove water so that you don’t saturate your page. You can also tear up little pieces to soak up any water that pools on your page.
I also like to keep two containers of water. One for cleaning my brush and one for wetting the watercolour pan. Some people like to have one container for warm colours, and one for cold colours. Its down to personal preference.
For my first attempt at using watercolours in my bullet journal, I used watercolour pencils. It was so easy and straightforward to use. Basically, you colour your image, adding shadows where you want, then, instead of using a blending pencils, you use water. You can easily manage how much water you add and you can even distribute colour from the darker colour area to the lighter for that watercolour paint effect.
I hope you found these tips useful and excited to try watercolour paint in your bullet journal. I found the paint dried faster than gel pens so don’t let dry time stop you. Like most things I life, it’s all about moderation – especially when it comes to water.
You can find the one-pager reference sheet here:
For more tips, tricks, and inspiration, check out my blog and Instagram!