Alice Hendon has, once again, come up with a brilliant idea to help artists be better artists. A little over a month ago I reviewed “Tangle Starts“, a softcover book filled with beautiful backgrounds that can be so easily be used to make awesome art. On Christmas day, Alice published her second volume, a companion for “Tangle Starts”. Alice’s “Tangle Starts Planner” and it will help any artist plan and keep their ideas organized.
You can use it as a bullet journal, a tangle pattern creation assistant, an art planner or even just an idea bubble type of journal. I’ll be using it as both a bullet journal and an idea bubble wrangler, lol. You can read about this journal in Alice’s own words on her blog The Creator’s Leaf.
I am a beginner to bullet journalling. This is my first bullet journal, or bujo if you want to get jiggy with it. I have been a compulsive list keeper all my life as I was raised by a meticulously organized mom who has a pantry FULL of every spice, food stuff and dry good, all in they’re own glass container (labeled using a Brother label maker, of course!). In fact, I cannot get through a day without checking, rewriting and obsessing over my current “list”. Unfortunately, as my business and art career has grown in the last year, I now have notes EVERYWHERE. I have a Hilroy wired notebook, a sticky note pads, index cards in every color, a small Hahnemühle DiaryFlex, a computer note app AND a monthly calendar on and off the computer. Still, I’m so disorganized that I can hardly find my head in the morning. I knew I needed another way.
Looking for a solution, I started looking into bullet journalling. It seemed right in my wheelhouse, it organizes you in a logical wayAND you’re encouraged to embellish. I’m an artist, I CAN EMBELLISH like nobody’s business, I just can’t find my pens, paper or head to do it. Did I mention I’m disorganized?
Actually, my environment is highly organized. My newly minted office is as organized as my mother’s pantry. It’s my internal thoughts that are disorganized and I know just why that is. I HAVE TOO MUCH SHIT TO DO! Sorry for the swearing, it’s not like me. Ok, it’s a lot like me, lately. My life is out of control right now and there’s not much I can do about it. A family member is moving into our building eminently, my uncle died two weeks ago, I just found out I’m now profoundly deaf in my right ear because of a stealth virus I contracted just before Christmas, my mom fell and now has two fractured vertebrae in her back, I have cancer & a close family member also has cancer. All that in the last four months. Oh and I have 8 appointments in the next week to see specialists (between my mother and I, I accompany her because of her back now). All of that subterfuge is added on top of trying to be a successful artist building a small business. Ya, I’m a little scattered. This bullet journal from my friend Alice is gonna solve ALL THOSE SCHEDULING PROBLEMS. YAY. Let me say that again, YAY!!!!
I’ve spent the last week researching how to bujo successfully. I have also worked my little fingers to the bone, embellishing the
shit heck out of this bullet journal. I must say, it’s gorgeous! I thought it would help organize me but I didn’t expect that it would truly change the way I do stuff. Thank God and kiss the angel’s feet, I’m finally organized and I won’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking I have forgotten something important. That happens to mr a lot more than you think.
Best selling author Alice Hendon has published a large format (8″ x 10″) journal that will keep every project, party, appointment and list organized. The pages have a dot grid pattern so they’re easy to use for making boxes and bullets (little squares for organizing your tasks). The binding is strong, no pages are loose at all and I’ve been HARD on my bujo already. I’ve bent back the spine so the pages lie flat. The book is holding up exceedingly well. I have no worries that it will start releasing pages.
There is a ton of real estate to not only regiment your lists, reminders, deliveries, tasks, trackers, but also enough room for that embellishment. There are monthly & weekly sections along with index pages, mini calendars (2017-2020) and other planning pages like a place to keep important websites and passwords. Alice has also smartly included several pages at the back and front of the journal specifically for testing pens. Finally, she has included 106 new tangle patterns and a section at the end for you to design your own tangles. I’m using that section to keep track of the embellishments I can use to make the bullet journal easier to use.
Embellishing your bujo isn’t just to make it visually more appealing. The eye goes to things that have the maximum impact, that’s why we use highlighter pens in textbooks. That eye-seeing yellow makes your eye go THERE first. By adding visually appealing things to your page, you make your bujo much easier to read. And let’s face it, it’s also really nice to interact with pretty things so why not let that artist in you go to town?
This bullet journal will work beautifully for both beginners (like me) and expert bujo-ers. Alice has added prompts telling you where you might want to add things and even inspirational quotes on some of the pages. The book has a total of 242 pages and the paper is of good quality. I found that ghosting only happened using the most ink laden pens like my Tombow Fude Brush pen and the 08 Pigma Micron. Other pens like the Sarasa Zebra (this is the brown I used) and fine liners like Staedtler Pigment liners (01 & 03) and Pigma Micron (01 & 03) worked beautifully with nearly no ghosting at all. The one time I tried using a Sharpie there was some serious bleed through (even with the lightest touch!) so I wouldn’t recommend those in this book.
As the video shows, there is some ghosting happening with the Tombow Fude Brush pen I used but I quickly got over it, realizing that first, the ghosting wasn’t that bad and second the brush lettering made the pages so cool looking that it was worth a little ghosting on the opposing page. I can certainly see my writing over it and I know almost all journals have the same problem so I’m over it, lol. The prettiness of the brush lettering is worth it. (you too can learn how to bujo and master brush lettering. I’ve only been practicing for a couple weeks so it doesn’t have to take inordinate amounts of time to learn!)
The only thing I think is missing is numbered pages and I’ve already mentioned that to the artist who is diligently working on next year’s planner! She’s a hard working artist with some seriously great ideas. Thank you Alice for sending me the Tangle Starts Planner for review. It’s making all the difference. Just LOOK how organized I am. *Jenn pats herself on the back* 😀
Things I used in the Bullet Journal:
- Redi-Tag divider sticky notes -I covered the little divider part with packing tape so they were sturdier and taped them down to the page they were attached to (on the edges). This ensures that a heavily used journal stays intact.
- Sarasa Zebra Brown 0.4 Pen – I loved this pen and the color looks pretty darn good.
- Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen (soft) – Love this for brush lettering, I buy in bulk!
- Staedtler Pigment Liner 01 – All straight lines and drawings done in this pen (no ruler, no skipping!)
- Pigma Micron 05 or 08 – I used these for making the bullet shadows
- Colored Pencils – I reviewed these here. They’re great student grade pencil crayons and work beautifully on this paper.
- FYI, there’s a very cool set of pens that I came across which has everything you’d need, even a brush pen.
Alice Hendon has generously offered up one of her new “Tangle Starts Planners” for a giveaway. Thanks Alice! I’ll be adding A BUNCH of cool extras to help the newbie make their new bujo look awesome. Come back tomorrow to enter and see what Alice and I will be giving away. It’ll be easy to enter and you just might win!
Learning: Brush Lettering & Bullet Journalling, how do you think I’m doing so far?
Anticipating: Warmer weather, my hands are freezing. I want apple blossoms & daffodils and an early Spring.
Planning: Review of Hahnemühle Watercolor Journal and a HUGE Valentine’s Giveaway. Starting on Feb 7 (right after THIS giveaway, see you tomorrow!)
Loving: My aunt Mic. She’s being so brave and moving for the first time in forty years, YAY, she’s gonna be in our building!! She ROCKS. 😀