Every time I see a new journal at the craft store or online, I want to get my hands on it! All those blank pages, ready to be filled with whatever I choose!
I’ve always enjoyed looking at other people’s bullet journal spreads on social media but never thought I could draw those things. I didn’t think I had the drawing skills needed to do so.
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But, when first started bullet journaling I decided to make the most of it by learning how to draw my own bullet journal doodles.
I’ve purchased several “how to draw” books to find an easy way and have done a lot of practice doodling using the Procreate app. I’ve even taught a class on how to make digital stickers from some easy doodles!
If I can learn how to draw, so can you.
If you’re curious about my reasons for using Procreate to learn, I talk about that in “Is Procreate Worth It?” Procreate is one of my favorite ways to draw and take basic shapes and turn them into cute doodles.
I also wanted to start getting back into paper planning, so I’ve recently purchased the newest STM journal with 16 GSM pages. The pages are super thick so you can use most of your art supplies in this journal! I’m excited to see it all filled up. I asked STM if I could be an affiliate for them and they gave me a coupon I can share with you, which is “APAAP” which gives you 10% off (take of the quotes).
Once you have your journal, it’s time to get doodling.
Here are some simple doodle ideas to get you started:
Plants and Flowers
Flowers and plants are probably my favorite kind of doodle. They’re super easy to practice and you can start out with some simple drawings. The best part is there’s no one perfect way to draw them, which means there is a ton of room for error!
You can even create your own imaginary flowers as an awesome creative outlet.
With practice you will be creating beautiful flowers in no time.
My favorite books for drawing flowers and other plants are:
How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (This one isn’t just flowers, but it has some really cute doodle flowers).
Here are some examples of floral drawings. I love the look of leaves drawn in black pen on a white background. Here are some of my early flower doodles.
You can also play around with some color with your doodles, such as in this example. The cool thing about drawing plants is that there are so many different varieties. Adding color allows you to easily create some beautiful flower drawings.
You could do a whole series just using one flower or leaf and play around with the color and style of drawing. I especially like pages of sunflower doodles since the colors tend to be bright and happy.
Since most of us are planner obsessed, it’s fun to draw planner accessories. Some of my favorite stickers are related to planners, so learning to make some planner doodles seemed to be a great next step!
I’ve included a picture I doodled, which shows these do not need to be complex.
Here are some examples of doodles related to planners:
- Washi tape
- Traveler’s notebook
- Journal book doodles
- Sticky notes or Note Page
- Sticker Sheets
Lettering and Words
The place where I probably doodle the most in my journal is in the header of my pages. I love to use hand lettering or other decorative lettering to start off my creativity on my journal page.
In addition to using hand lettering, you can also try different bullet journal fonts for your journal such as using bubble letters with polka dots or stripes. There are whole books dedicated to different kinds of doodle letters you can add to your journal:
Here’s one that gives you over 50 ways to write letters. It’s fun for practicing. – here is a picture of some of my practice from the book(on the right side – the letters spelling out the word “love” are from this book by Joanne Sharpe – she has so many fun ideas):
Letters are an amazing topic for practicing drawing since you already know how to draw them.
As a beginner artist, patterns are one of the easiest things you can start with. Have you ever heard of Zen Doodles? It’s a super simple technique to make layered patterns with doodles.
You can find different ideas for patterns by doing a search for Zen Doodles. I’ve also created this Pinterest board to store some ideas.
There are also quite a few pattern books you can explore; however, I find that the patterns in books are often kind of ugly (for me), so I’ve been trying to collect patterns that I like so I can use them in future doodling.
I really enjoyed following this YouTube tutorial on creating a patchwork bird, which used patterns. It was easy to follow and so inspiring:
I love creating mandalas, though I’m more likely to draw these in Procreate rather than in my journal.
So why am I including them in this post? Because they are so relaxing to draw and although I don’t usually do them in pen, I do export them as a PNG from Procreate so that I can make them into stickers for my journal. I think they look cool on my journal pages and I can color them if I want to.
Here’s my newest Mandala. If you look closely you can see I also put some pattern doodles in there:
Borders or frames are fun things to doodle and are a fun way to use pattern doodles. You can get creative and make these in any way you want, adding things like dangles, hearts, diamond, and other cool things.
I found great inspiration for borders in these books:
Book on Dangles (which includes some great inspiration for patterns and borders)
This lettering book is full of decorative elements to add to your planner.
Here are some ideas I’ve collected in my art journal:
Cute Animal Doodles
My absolute favorite decorations are cute drawings and the thing I find most cute are animals. Animals are challenging but you can start with some simple doodles of animals.
I just purchase the cutest book on drawing cute things and it has a section on drawing animals that I’m pretty excited about.
I even recorded a TikTok video about it 🙂
Ideas for cute animals to draw:
- Unicorn Doodles
- Other Magical Creatures
Here’s a few I did:
Food doodles can be super cute. They can be used in a meal planning spread or just to add something cute to your journal. If you choose to draw something like candy you can add some gorgeous colors to your pages.
Some ideas for food doodles:
- Ice Cream Cone
- Coffee Doodles
- Something healthy (haha, I just noticed everything I wrote was unhealthy).
- Fruit Doodles
- Cute drinks from Starbucks
- Candy Canes
Self Care Doodles
Sometimes we need a little reminder of the need to take care of ourselves. Many journalers decorate their pages with little pictures of things they like to do, such as dancing or yoga, or even some travel doodles.
The possibilities are endless! Here is a fun idea for self care decorations in your planner:
- Bath time
- Yoga poses
- Spa things
- Me time
Rocks and Gems
Seashells, rocks and gemstones are great things to draw because are relatively simple. You can do some drawing online to look for inspiration using the search key “seashell” or “rock.”
You can doodle reminders in your journal. For example, draw cleaning doodles like a garbage can to remind yourself when it’s time to take out the garbage. Or draw a little laundry basket on laundry day.
Another idea is to have a doodle that reminds you of your period if you have one. I used to draw this little circle monster thing to remind myself of the date of my last period.
There are lots of ideas when you just look around your house. Your to do list is endless, right?
You’ve heard of functional stickers…what about functional doodles? What are functional doodles? This would be things like checkboxes, flags, to do list boxes, or banners. Essentially, anything that adds to the function of your planner. These can be very basic doodles in your bujo spread, like different colored boxes or hearts to check things off in.
A lot of people like to track the weather in their journal. What do you think about adding weather icons to your journal? (I always felt like this was too much work).
Wind/storm icons are popular. These can be a reminder of the strength of the wind, such as a tree being bent by the wind or something like that.
Here is a picture of my sketchbook page from a free doodle class I’m taking on Facebook from Lindsay Ostrom. This is her art, I just followed along 🙂 Go join this daily doodle class. It’s so good! Check her stuff out at creatorofcuteness.com (must…buy…all…the…things).
There’s plenty of room for emotions. Everyone has something that makes them feel angry, sad, or happy. You can draw these small doodles to remind yourself what feelings you’re experiencing and write about them in your journal at the same time. Doodle some smiley faces on your page when you’re having a good day
You can draw emoticons or even just use some color to represent your emotions.
Doodles of holiday themes are always nice to draw. Set a theme for your journal or planner and then decorate it with some doodles using this theme.
These are some of my favorite doodles from Brenda Bakker’s SkillShare class. I highly recommend taking this class because she teaches you how to create art for fun (without all the perfectionism). This class gave me a lot of confidence:
Good Luck Doodles
These can be small drawings, such as four leafs or lucky clovers. You can also letter some positive words like “dream,” “wish,” “hope,” or even some positive affirmations.
Doodle things that remind you of summer, such as beach scenes, suns, flip flops, and umbrellas. Summer is also a great time to doodle things like watermelon slices, picnic baskets, bunnies, and bees.
Doodle images of fall, such as pumpkins, leaves changing color, scarecrows and other Thanksgiving related things.
Halloween doodles are fun too! You could add things like witches hats, broomsticks, jack-o-lanterns, and all sorts of other things.
Doodle images of spring, such as flowers and bunnies. Doodle pictures of a rainy day, or the growth of new leaves.
Doodle winter scenes, snowmen, snowflakes, and other winter related things in your journal. You could draw mittens or hats, skis, sledding, and so many other things to represent winter.
Of course, there are also Christmas related doodles you could add to your journal. These doodles just might get you ready for the holiday season!
Houses or Home
Houses or buildings are other fun things to draw in your journal. There are lots of cute doodles you can make of your house or things in your home. (I drew these after taking Brenda Bakker’s SkillShare class)
What Will You Doodle in Your Planner?
So there you have it, a bunch of ideas to get doodling.
I’d love to see what you come up with so tag me on Instagram with your creations @marlena.larson
My best advice for those who are new to drawing is to start adding doodling into your daily life by making it a daily habit.
Practice, practice, practice.
You don’t have to be a great artist and it doesn’t have a to take a long time.
You can have so much fun creating doodles and there are a ton of benefits of doodling in your journal. For example, at the end of the day you can take some time to reflect by coming up with some creative doodle ideas to remember the day by.
I’ve found that practicing doodling and learning to draw has become one of my favorite ways to unwind after a stressful day.
I mainly create art on the iPad right now because I love that I can pull it out whenever and there’s no cleanup. I even am able to make it feel like I’m writing on paper when using my iPad by using the a paper-feel screen protector!