Are you ready to take your bullet journal to the next level? Give these simple planner doodles a try. Each one requires just 3 easy steps and a bit of confidence.
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Long ago, when I first started bullet journaling, doodling intimidated me. The doodles looked simple enough, but as soon as I was grasping the pen with the intention of putting it to paper, I freaked out.
My doodles will never look as good as the ones I see on Pinterest. That was my thought process. And it took me a while to feel confident and flip to a fresh page without doubting myself. But, what I’ve learned over the last few years is that much like long division, doodles can be broken down into simple doable steps.
On a daily basis, I email, chat, and talk to people who truly believe they are incapable of doodling. It breaks my heart because doodling has been therapeutic for me. It has given me the opportunity to express myself in a creative way, and I can make it my own. It’s relaxing and the end result always makes me smile. I think everyone deserves the chance to feel that joy.
So, in this post, I want to share 11 simple planner doodles that can be drawn in just 3 easy to follow steps. And also, I’m going to share my top doodling tips and recommendations to help you start off on the right foot. By the end of this post, I hope you will feel confident enough to try these simple doodles in your own bullet journal and even try to come up with a few of your own.
- Before you start, you need to warm up. Just like exercise, you have to warm up the muscles you will be using to doodle. The best way to do this is to pull out a blank piece of paper, set a timer for 10-minutes, and start free doodling. Don’t overthink it or set any expectations during this time; just draw. Draw shapes, words, symbols, etc., and don’t put your pen down for those 10-minutes.
- See things as basic shapes. This takes a little practice. But, when you look at something you want to draw, try to lose the details and see just the basic shapes. A book is rectangular. A flower is circular, and the stem is just two parallel lines. An ice cream cone is an upside down triangle with a circle on top. Start with these basic shapes and then refine from there.
- Use a variety of thickness in your lines. When you are first starting out, you may not have a lot of different pens to choose from. But as you expand your pen collection, you will have a variety of nib sizes to choose from. Use different nib sizes to create variety and add interest to your lines. My personal preference is to go for a thicker outline and smaller, finer details inside.
- Find your happy place. This could be your desk with a cup of coffee, cuddled up on your bed or couch listening to your favorite music with your headphones on, or sitting on the floor in your living room. But, finding your happy place plays a big part in your doodling success. You will find that when you are relaxed and truly enjoying your time, your doodles come out cleaner and your creativity will be fluid.
- There is no right or wrong way. The way I draw a purse and the way you draw a purse may be completely different. But that doesn’t make either one right or wrong. You will find your own style as you practice. Let it happen and don’t try to force your doodles to look like someone elses. The best way to do this is to pick one subject and doodle it as many different ways as you can.
The Best Doodling Supplies
These simple planner doodles can be drawn with any pen you have available. Even if it’s the one you accidentally stole from the bank counter after signing a check. But, quite often, people become invested in their bullet journal and in art supplies for their journal.
There are hundreds of wonderful and exciting bullet journal supplies. But, you don’t need expensive brush pens or highlighters to doodle. The following are my most used and beloved supplies for doodling.
- Black Fineline Pens. The brand doesn’t matter so much. What matters is that you get a set that has various nib sizes. As mentioned above, you’ll want a very small nib for fine details and a larger nib for outlines and adding contrast. I’m currently loving this set by Faber-Castell. But if you head to Amazon and search fineline pens, you can find a set that fits your budget and accommodates your needs.
- Colored Pens. Doodling is fun with black pens, but adding a little color can take a doodle from plain to snazzy real quick. I have tried both the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners and the Stabilo Point 88. Both are wonderful and offer a large variety of colors. Arteza, while I have not tried them, has a pack of 72 colored fineline pens at a very affordable price.
- Colored Pencils. Much like the colored pens, colored pencils are a great addition to your doodling arsenal. Because they can create very soft shades and also very deep, rich shades, they are the perfect way to add depth and dimension to your doodles. I am a huge fan of Prismacolor colored pencils, but they are quite pricey. And my Crayolas have never failed me at a fraction of the cost.
- Circle Maker. No matter how much you practice, drawing a perfect circle can feel like an impossible task. So, you’ll likely want some sort of a circle stencil or compass for those times that you need to draw a perfect circle. I use a Staedtler Compass for larger circles (when making a mandala, for example). But for smaller circles, my favorite tool is this circle maker that’s under $5.
Why You Should Doodle Every Day
Doodling may seem like just a simple creative hobby. But, studies have shown that there are multiple benefits of doodling.
According to an article on Harvard Health Publishing, doodling helps improve memory and can help relieve stress. Researchers believe that doodling activates parts of the brain that are otherwise very difficult to tap into. Doodling can fill in gaps in memories and even help us solve problems that we have tried too hard to focus on.
Another big benefit of doodling is that it offers a daily creative outlet. It’s one of the easiest ways to release creativity because all you need is a writing instrument and something to draw on. This could be a pen and a napkin, a brown paper bag, a receipt, or a piece of scrap paper. It can be done anywhere and will always offer that brief escape from the stresses of daily life.
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11 Simple Planner Doodles for your Bullet Journal
Let’s get into the fun part of this post with these cute and simple planner doodles. I designed and worked these doodles so that they only require 3 steps to complete. Each doodle starts off with a simple shape and is then refined and has details added.
Feel free to reimagine these doodles as your own. Shape and create them with your own creative vision.
Becoming a Confident Doodler
How many times have you scrolled through Instagram or Pinterest and had doodle envy? I know I used to get it all the time. And then I began to feel inadequate and doubt my abilities.
But, what I learned was that doodling, just like any other art form, is very personal and individual. You can’t compare your doodles to someone else’s. For one, everyone has a different starting point in their journey. And secondly, how you perceive and translate a thought into a doodle will not be the same as how someone else does.
So, how do you become confident with your own doodles? There are a few things you can add into your daily routine to improve your creative confidence.
- Practice every day. This is the obvious answer, but it’s also the most truthful. The more you practice, the better you will get.
- Keep a sketchbook (or journal). Having records of your previous doodles is extremely beneficial because you can flip back and see your progress. Also, these previous doodles are like a doodle dictionary, full of ideas and inspiration.
- Don’t let it become a chore. I tell people this about journaling, doodling, etc. If you allow it to become a chore and not something enjoyable, you will find yourself pulling away and eventually abandoning it. If you need a break or are getting frustrated, take a break and come back to it at a later date.
- Draw what/how you like. If you don’t like drawing flowers, don’t. Want to draw food or people or books or sports equipment? Okay! Good, do that. You can find inspiration everywhere, and there are no rules on what you can draw or how you draw it. Allow yourself to draw freely and let your inner creative personality shine through in your doodles.
I’ve Launched a Doodle Course
In the last year, I have released two creative e-courses. My flagship course, Rock Your Journal is a mix of doodling, lettering, and layouts. Petite Floral Doodles is my second and most recent course, focusing solely on drawing doodley flowers and flower arrangements.
Both courses hold a special place in my heart and I am incredibly proud of them. But, I have had a desire to do a full-blown doodling course for a few months now. So, now that I’ve mapped it out and decided on the content, I’m ready to dive into the creation process.
UPDATE (9/6/19) It took a little longer than expected. But, my online doodling course is finally up and thriving.
This course includes:
- 4+ hours of pre-recorded video tutorials
- Step-by-step instruction for beginners and up
- Guided worksheets to accompany the video lessons
- Facebook Group Support
- Lightroom Mobile Presets to share your doodles in perfect lighting
- Lifetime access
- Free updates and bonuses as they are added
- Never pay more than the 1-time enrollment fee
And if you aren’t ready to take the leap yet, you can still jump in on my 7-Day FREE Email Doodle Course, which includes a lot of the content in the paid course. Sign up here.
PS: If you aren't participating in my monthly doodle challenge, you should! It's great fun with no pressure and a lot of positive support. You can find the monthly prompts on my Facebook Page and my Instagram. Do you participate in a monthly doodle challenge? Has it improved your doodles?