How To Doodle: Beginner’s Guide To Bullet Journal Doodles
Ok, confession time! Ever since I started my very first Bullet Journal, doodles have been my biggest challenge.
I’m not an artistic person at all, and all I could ever draw was a smiley face (with an option to add a tongue to the design).
However, I AM a very determined person, and once I set a goal, I become unstoppable! Of course, practice is the key. I kept working on my skills over and over to get my doodling game on a proper level.
Well, I’m here today to share with you what I learned during my little doodling development and to tell you where you can get some help and inspiration as well. Mind you, I’m not an expert, and I’m still learning myself every day.
But I think if I could improve my drawing skills (more like developing drawing skills!), so can you!
So let’s dive in and see how you can crush it with your Bullet Journal doodles.
And be sure to scroll until the end to get some more resources and a free doodling course!
Benefits Of Doodling
Doodles are a great way to decorate your Bullet Journal; we all agree on that.
But it can actually bring so much more to your life!
Doodling can help you reconnect with your emotions. Just like any form of art, doodling is very connected to your emotions and can have positive effects in this area.
Regularly practicing doodling can definitely calm you down and generally improve your mood.
Doodling can create those a-ha moments for you. While doodling, your brain is engaged enough to stay active but not enough to spiral in the same thought. You give it a whole new state to work, and you’d be amazed at what solutions it can come up with.
Doodling also helps you to stay awake and alert to a subject you lost interest in, so really, it’s pretty useful for students as well. I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely needed something like that during my college days.
So, doodling is actually not just a mindless hobby but something that can help you with more than just developing your creativity.
“But I Can’t Draw”
I hear a lot of “I wish I could draw like that” and “I’ll never be able to draw like that”.
But guys, all that couldn’t be further from the truth!
When I started my first Bullet Journal in 2018, I could only draw smiley faces or stick people. The idea of there was never any talk of other doodling options in my arsenal.
Two years into Bullet Journaling, my pages are decorated with doodles you guys seem to like (and I definitely love), and I even teach doodling on my blog and YouTube.
What happened? A lot of learning and practice. Like everything, doodling skills are just a muscle, and all you need is to train them.
There is, however, one secret that will help you learn to doodle in no time!
How To Doodle
Doodles are just simple shapes.
It might not seem that way, but it’s definitely true.
Of course, the shapes are refined to make them look like the thing you try to doodle. But that’s really the next step; so far, we’re just learning to see these basic shapes so we can start doodling.
There are a few basic shapes:
- Square and rectangle
- Circle and oval
You learned to draw these at school, so don’t tell me you can’t draw! Now that you get the basic idea, it’s time to learn how to see it in the drawings.
Bullet Journal Doodles: STep By Step
We did all the prep work, so I think it’s time to actually start working on your Bullet Journal doodles.
We’ll start with this simple exercise that will definitely help you make doodling so much easier, and it’s connected to the big secret we talked about before.
Step 1: Seeing Doodles As Shapes
Let’s start training from some simple shapes and then move to more elaborate doodles.
A doughnut, a pizza, a button, what are those? Of course, these are circles; pretty easy to spot the shape here.
Let’s think of more elaborate doodles that consist of several shapes.
A Christmas tree, for example, can be easily divided into two triangles and a rectangle.
An ice cream cone is obviously a triangle with a circle.
It could, of course, be two circles if you choose to draw one with two scoops, but let’s start from the basics.
A coffee cup can be simply divided into just four rectangles.
Now let’s talk about something much more difficult – let’s divide this sweet little unicorn into parts.
Ok, I really didn’t mean it to sound so murdery!
- The ears and the horn are triangles
- The head and body are also triangles with a top cut
- Finally, the legs are simple lines and circles
Just like that, a cute little unicorn turned into a pretty simple doodle to draw.
A little note here – you might actually see some other shapes in play here. But it’s totally fine. We all see the world just a little bit differently.
I recommend you practice a lot, and the more you train your eye to divide your objects into shapes before you doodle, the easier it will be to doodle pretty much anything.
Always start from a basic shape and then refine it.
Let’s do a test run with that unicorn doodle.
Step 2: Warm-Up
Before you sit down to doodle, there are a few simple exercises that can help you to warm up and get your hands ready for the process. So, in the end, you’ll be better prepared to rock your doodles.
As we talked about before, doodles are just a combination of lines and shapes, so as a warm-up, try drawing these.
Start from lines, and there are 5 basic ones – a straight line. wavy line, dotted line, dash line, and zigzag line. Take a piece of paper and just start repeating these lines over and over again.
Add variety to your practice – try out different pens, different colors, and different line thicknesses. It’ll also help you to figure out your favorite materials and colors.
The next exercise is to do the same thing but with shapes. Think of the basic shapes and fill out a piece of paper with them.
A few ideas of the shapes are – square, triangle, circle, and diamond. But feel free to add whatever other shapes you can come up with, like hearts or rectangles.
Just like with lines, try different colors and different materials. With shapes, you can play around even more – draw them in different sizes, maybe inside each other or crossing.
Really let your creativity flow and give your hands the freedom to do whatever they feel like.
Now that you’re all warmed up and ready to rock let’s dive into doodling that little unicorn.
Step 3: Refining Your bullet journal Doodles
Let’s start by drawing the basic shapes we divided the unicorn by – two triangles that stand for the head and body of the unicorn.
This will make it easier to work on all the other details. Be sure to cut off all the tops and smooth them.
Now that you can see the head make sure you add two small triangles for ears on the side and a larger one for the horn right on top.
Next – add the lines and circles for the legs.
Finally, it’s time to refine the doodle and add details, such as the mare and the face.
As you can see, it’s also just a collection of simple lines and dots.
And we are done! Good job, your cute unicorn is ready to rock your Bullet Journal pages.
Here is a video of me going through a few more doodles step by step, so you can get clearer examples of how to divide a doodle into simple shapes and work from it.
How To Style Your Doodles
Now that we covered the basics of doodling, let’s touch on how we can add a bit of extra flair to your doodles.
The first technique is by playing with the shadows. When your doodle is done, think of where the light source is and add the shadow to your drawing.
For adding the shadows, you can use stippling, simple lines, or maybe a grey marker.
Another way to make your doodles stand out is by using different thicknesses of a pen.
For example, if you use a thicker pen for the outer party of the doodle, it will make it stand out and look much more doodly.
Finally, you can use the blackout technique, where you simply blackout parts of your doodles or maybe some doodles from the group.
That way, you make them stand out and create an interesting contrast.
Best Doodling Supplies
You’ll need, of course, some supplies if you sit down to practice your doodling skills.
The good news is, all you really need is a pen and paper! Here are some recommendations to know where to start:
- Pilot Dr. Grip Pencil – starting with a pencil is the best trick to make sure your doodles look their best. This pencil is definitely the most comfortable one you’ll love using.
- Sakura Foam Eraser – you’ll need a good eraser that won’t leave any streaks of color behind. These erasers are definitely the best.
- Sakura Pigma Micron – a good fineliner is the best pen to doodle, and these come in many different nib sizes so that you can add variety to your doodles.
- Rhodia Notepad – you’ll need a good place to practice doodling, and a notepad like this will help you with that. Plus, this paper won’t damage any of your markers if you decide to use color.
If you’re looking for more pen recommendations, check my post 7 Best Pens For Doodling, Sketching, And Drawing.
How To Practice Doodles
As I keep saying, learning to doodle is all about practicing.
Here I want to share with you some simple techniques you can use when you practice to get more creative results and challenge yourself to improve each time even more.
- Have a non-stop doodling session. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just make yourself doodle nonstop. It can be doodles or letters or just some patterns but make yourself create something nonstop. This will help you push your creative juices. Important – don’t worry about the result or how the doodles look. This exercise is to get your creative juices flowing.
- Doodle the same thing differently. Pick a simple doodle you’re comfortable with (like a coffee cup!) and challenge yourself to draw it 10 times, but a bit different each time.
- Animate your doodles. If you’re drawing inanimate objects or even just letters – try to personify them and add some character. Just like that, your simple cup of coffee can become a cute character with a whole scale of emotions.
And, of course, I need to mention that the best way to practice doodling as a beginner is to follow a tutorial. But more on this later.
You probably already know most of these, but I wanted to condense it into a neat little list.
These are some of the basic tips you should consider when sitting down to doodle.
- Warm-up. When you sit down to work those hand muscles, be sure to warm up, as we mentioned before. Don’t overthink it, though; just take a piece of paper and start drawing.
- Think in basic shapes. Just like we talked about, start thinking of doodles in terms of basic shapes, and you’ll be able to doodle anything you want! It helps to get a reference picture so you can look at it and figure out the basic shapes for your doodle.
- Use a variety of line thicknesses. One of the easiest ways to make your doodles stand out is to play around with line thickness. You can definitely do it by going over some lines or if you get fineliner pens that come in sets with different nib sizes.
- Find your comfort place. It’s always more fun and inspiring to create in a place that you love and feel comfortable in. When you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, you’ll see it reflected in your Bullet Journal doodles.
- There is only your way. Everyone has their own perspective and sees (and doodles) things their own way. So if your doodles don’t look like mine, for example – it doesn’t mean that one way is wrong and one is right. It’s just that we are different people, so of course, we have doodles looking different.
- Drop perfectionism. Doodling is a style of drawing that is more about being creative and expressing yourself rather than creating a perfect representation of the item. The goal is to let the creativity flow and see where it takes you. So always remember that!
What To Doodle
I mentioned before that the best way to get better at doodling is to practice. But here is a question – what should you doodle?
I remember when I started learning to doodle, I really struggled with that, so I’m here to help you out.
Participate In A Doodling Challenge
This is probably the best way for you to practice doodling.
The way it works is that every day you’re given a prompt to doodle, and so every day, you have a little idea of what you can draw.
You can do the entire month in one day if you want to, or practice doodling one thing in different ways every day.
You can check out our Doodling club, where we have a monthly doodling challenge as well as monthly doodling tutorials!
To get started, check out the prompts below.
Follow DOodling Tutorials
Following tutorials are the easiest way to learn to doodle and to take off the pressure of picking what to doodle.
Be sure to scroll until the end to see some more blog posts with tutorials to follow.
Free Course: Doodling For Beginners
I had no idea how to doodle, so I had to create my own little system to leach myself that skill.
So I know where you are, and I know that anyone can start doodling. And that’s why I created this free course that will walk you step by step through the process of discovering that creative talent inside and learning how to doodle.
Simply sign up in the form below, and you’ll get all the details on how to join delivered straight to your inbox.
I could talk about doodling for hours, and there are so many blog posts here to help you with that.
But here are a few to help you continue on your doodling journey:
- Doodling Prompts To Get You Working On Your Creativity
- 11 Books On Doodling To Get Right Away
- 17 Easy Doodles To Draw In Your Bullet Journal
I hope this post was helpful; if you find it so, please share! If you enjoy my content and want to show your appreciation, please consider supporting me with a cup of coffee.
And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling, and Don’t Be A Blob!
It would be nice to see your doodles, but all I see is a Walmart ad blocking them.
But I’m not having the same problem, it’s all well. If there’s a cross option, just click on it; try reloading the page or restart your phone.