Stickers Making-Of - Scanning & Editing Watercolor Drawings

If you've ever scanned in a watercolor drawing (or any image with soft hues and delicate color transitions) you probably know the horror of seeing your digital image looking VERY different from the original.

Where black-and-white images or strong colors are quite easy to edit, techniques like watercolor and colored pencil require more care. Especially if you prefer leaving parts of your paper white, but don't want the paper structure to show up in eventual prints or digital presentations. 

So while I'm still new to color images and maybe not the best choice for advice, I'll show how I usually edit my watercolor drawings in Photoshop.

Photoshop can be purchased on a monthly basis, which is a bit of a curse and a blessing in one. While I hate paying every month instead of just 'getting it over with' once, I'm glad that this takes care of eventual program updates, and it makes the initial expenses a lot more manageable. While I've used a lot of different graphic programs, from freeware like GIMP to Paint Pro SAI, Corel Painter and Clip, I do come back to Photoshop for image editing all the time. It isn't the most intuitive program for actual 'painting' (that's where Corel Painter wins...) but since I prefer painting traditionally anyway, that doesn't bother me. 

But these tips should be applicable to a lot of programs since I'm not using anything fancy. The basics are, well, basic enough to work nearly anywhere. 


My other materials can be found on my 'Resources' page - from watercolors to scanner and graphic tablet, I've listed them all there. But as with Photoshop: The materials really don't matter all that much, as long as you know what you're doing. ;)

Let's go!

First, you'll need something to scan, of course. 

Select the highest resolution that works for your laptop/PC. I work with 600 dpi since that allows me to zoom in while correcting the image - anything beyond 600 dpi is just a pain in the ... backside of my laptop. 

Once you've got your scanned image open in Photoshop (or graphic program of your choice), crop it and duplicate that layer! Having a layer, set to invisible and pushed to the very bottom, is the perfect backup and comparison material for when you mess up along the way. 

For a long time, I then went directly into color adjustments to get the image as bright and natural looking as possible. But I've changed my approach a few months back:

I apply a selection mask to my objects first.

It's a lot of work, yes, but I've found that trying to get the background white by color selection/adjustment layers only, I always use more color nuances than necessary in my drawings. Especially for my sticker motives I like to keep the 'hand-painted' feel and the editing to a minimum, so this gives the closest results. 

Step by step: 

Background Color Selection

Go to 'Select' and choose 'color selection', then click on the white color of the paper to give the program a color reference. This will select all white or white-ish spaces on the drawing, with more or less leeway depending on the percentage you enter. Play around a bit - this really depends on your paper, the intensity of your watercolors etc.

But really, don't fret too much if the selection isn't all that accurate. Because next, we'll expand that selection (by clicking on 'Select', then 'Options') by 1 pixel, thus swallowing some of the pesky dots that refused to be selected. 

Then, inverse the selection (again under 'Select') so that instead of your white space, you have only the colored objects selected. 

Create a vector mask by clicking on the tiny symbol at the bottom of your 'layers' window. This makes everything that isn't part of your selection transparent. 

Working with Layer Masks

Now for the incredibly dull part: Take out your graphic tablet and refine that mask. This means both correcting the borders of objects and the interior of objects where you'd left white space or only very light colors in your drawing.

Really, my only advice for this is: Reduce the size of your Photoshop window and re-watch your favorite episodes on Netflix on the same screen. For reference: Correcting the mask for my Bonsai trees took two episodes of Parcs & Rec. Yay. Good times.

Yes, it's possible to get good, clean results without masking. But especially if you want to 'cut out' individual parts of the drawing (like individual trees) to make stickers, re-arrange the layout, or plan on printing anything: You'll be glad you did this later on. Our eyes see details like gray smudges or dots much better on paper than on screens, so while your picture might look clean on the monitor, you might be in for a surprise after printing. 

Bonus Tip: Personally, I find working on a transparent background or white background incredibly hard on my eyes. That's why I created an extra layer in a dark color. Much easier to spot stray smudges this way!

 Upper right part of the tree is 'cleaned up', the lower left leaves much to do. 

Upper right part of the tree is 'cleaned up', the lower left leaves much to do. 

Adjust Layer Mask with Brush Tool in Black and White

I tend to leave a slight border around my drawings, especially if I have used a pen instead of just watercolors. It's easier to keep the drawing's borders looking natural and hand-drawn instead of overly digital. But every image requires a different approach. 

You can also see that now that my masks are in place and the clean-up well-advanced, I've started playing around with adjustment layers to see how my final pieces will look. I mostly adjusted brightness levels and cranked up vibrance, saturation and shifted the hue slightly down. 

Color Balance comes in handy especially when working with colored pens to draw the outlines, like the sepia I'd used for these. Sometimes, they can look too bright or not match the colors in the aftermath. I toned down the yellow in those lines via Color Balance. 

Apply Layer Mask

Once every tree is corrected, a right-click on the vector mask (the small black and white thumbnail in the layers window) and selection of 'apply layer mask' will make the mask permanent, leaving you with individual images on a transparent background: No paper textures except in the drawings themselves, no smudges, no dust grains from the scanner. 

Then, I can select individual trees with the lasso selection tool, copy-paste them into new files and save them individually for future use - like arranging them on A4 paper for printable files, or smaller formats for sticker sheets. Here's where the initial 600 dpi decision comes in handy: I only need 300 dpi for my prints, which makes the trees large enough to work on A4 paper despite the original drawings being slightly smaller. 

Is this the most time-effective way of getting a white background? Nope. But it is the way that keeps my original drawings looking as close to reality as possible, with me being able to adjust the background and the drawings separately.

I'm not sure if this 'tutorial' is helpful - I do hope so, but I think you'll need to know some Photoshop/graphic program basic knowledge, like how to work with masks and adjustment layers, to follow along.


So do tell me where I should expand or add additional steps. I'm thinking of doing a breakdown of how I create coloring pages, too.

The finished drawings can be found on my Etsy both as printable files and sticker sheets

Freelance Illustration & Blog Report

It's already time to look back at my third month (ok, second month plus a couple of days) of blogging here!

March, in short, was full of nice freelance work and freshly-created printable files. I'm still taking baby steps when it comes to digital files on Etsy, but I love playing around with formats that I could never reasonably print and ship around the world myself. 

Blog Traffic Report March 2017:

New posts: 8    Total posts on blog: 17

Pageviews: 1624

Users: 432

Bounce Rate: 55.7%

I'm really, really happy with those 8 posts I managed to write! Especially since I think that they touched a variety of different themes (from Korean customs and traditions to a sticker making-of) - in that way, my blog now actually resembles what I had in mind, with a mix of daily life, illustrations, how-to's and journaling. 

So while the pageviews were lower than my goal (I'd hoped to hit 2000) I'm still really happy! 

Social Media Traffic Percentages:

Social: 57%

Direct: 25%

Referral: 9%

Organic Search: 8%

I'm glad that both Organic Search and Referral went up! Last month, they made up less than 12% of my social traffic together. Social is still dominated by Pinterest (52%) but I hope that this balances out the overall ratio. 

On that note: Pinterest had a huge lull during the 3rd week. I personally couldn't enter anything into its search engine and am still not sure if maybe the whole site had problems. There certainly was a huge dip in pageviews during that week! I still love Pinterest personally, though, since I use it a lot when looking up reference images, art tutorials, printable files, calligraphy tips, recipes... anything really!

Compared to last month, Twitter made up a much smaller percentage of my views. I guess that's mostly due to me using Twitter to share sketches, dumb cat pics and to send traffic to my Etsy shop, not my blog. 

On that note:

Etsy & Illustration Income Report March

March was a nice month when it came to illustration work! I had a couple of commissions I loved painting, and my usual freelance storyboard job had no hick-ups, leaving me with enough time to actually work on those commission pieces. 

Commission illustration income: 820$.

Etsy sales income: 82$

Together with my freelance income (only two jobs remaining; the mentioned storyboarding gig that I'll keep and graphic design for a company) I actually hit my ideal income goal this month! Now I'll only have to shift away from freelancing to more commission work and everything will be fine. (Right?) (Right??) (Sometimes I still feel like an idiot because I should maybe use the time I spend blogging, doing little Etsy projects etc for freelancing instead. But I really want to move towards a more passive, creative sort of income...!)


On Etsy: 

Yes, my income there is still low. But I also get commission requests from people that discover me through my Etsy shop, so for that alone, it's already an amazing platform! And every single listing I put up is something born from my passions: Drawings in watercolor, cute illustrations, whimsical designs and stickers... So every single sale just brings me joy. :)

And there's definitely an upward trend in my Etsy shop! As I get to focus more on creating products, more views trickle in. In March alone, I had more views than in the whole year of 2016 combined! I'm optimistic that, if I just keep doing my thing, that trend will continue and Etsy will become a more stable side-income source.
 

Did I reach my goals for March?

Let's have a look:

  • Hit 2k pageviews. That's not much compared to other blogs, but I think my blog is weird, so that would already be a huge amount for me. :)  Not there yet. 
  • Total of 8 new blog posts. All with illustrations and sketches. YUP!
  • 5 new printable listings on my Etsy. (Two down already!) More like eight?? 
  • Launch my Aquamarine Gemstone StickersOut and about, and I'm thinking about adding more colors. 
  • Lots of OH SO SECRET new work! I'm especially excited for a series that will be spread out over a couple of months... and some new blog illustrations, too. Finished all those commissions, and the series is under-way.
  • Stop another regular freelance gig (storyboard artist) and instead cross 800$ in side business income. Well, I did hit that 800$ number, but ... the storyboard job kind of became a lot more comfortable thanks to a bit of workflow restructuring. So for now I'm sticking with it...
  • Probably move house. WE DON'T KNOW YET. Not yet. We'll see. This is so annoying. I did learn how to do tile patterns and how to build a bed from scratch out of wood, so that's that. #renovationskills

Goals for April:

  • Those 2000 pageviews. I'll get there. 
  • Total of 6 new blog posts. Less than last month, but all the posts I'm preparing are long and work-heavy. A tutorial for scanning illustrations is coming up, and sketch-diary entries. 
  • 10 new Etsy listings, digital or physical. 
  • Re-activate my old Redbubble account. Since I've been making print files for Etsy, I might as well offer them on Redbubble on tote bags and similar things I can't print and ship myself. 
  • PRACTICE! Drawing cute illustrations is fun and all, but thanks to working freelance, I've not really practiced realistic drawing for the longest time. I'll be doing the #100daysofportraits (part of #the100dayproject) on Instagram, with that in mind.
  • Publish my 'Historical Dresses' coloring pages (4 pieces) and a new Korean Hanbok sticker set.

That's it for my March report and April goals! I'm trying to keep this short(-ish) and to the point... 

I have so many doubts, from day to day, about going self-employed and cutting back on freelance jobs - sometimes I feel like I'm ditching responsibilities as a financial provider since I now focus more on drawing things I love than drawing for, well, putting food on the table. But at the same time, I feel so energetic and can't stop myself from drawing more and more! This is wonderful yet terrifying! 

Plan With Me April & Korean Stationery Haul

Well, that last post about my bullet journal in March sure turned out to be a long read! I want to avoid a similar image dump at the end of April, so here's a first look at my planner setup for the coming month and the weekly layout I'm trying - with a Korean stationery haul thrown in for good measure.

 New bullet journal! I've switched to a white paper blank one and love it so much! Time to be creative AND productive.

My stationery haul arrived and (drumroll) I present: My new hardcover bullet journal!

 My new bullet journal! The pattern on this hardcover journal is so pretty and inspired by 'The Wind In The Willows' so I feel like I'm writing a story whenever I jot down my to-do lists.

Isn't that cover art precious? I've got an Alice in Wonderland themed version, too. 

I've switched from my re-purposed Kraft sketchbook to a white, blank journal with the prettiest cover. I actually got a whole set of six books in this style for gifts and storyboard drawings (... and as Korean stationery happens to be very cheap, the whole haul cost less than a single Leuchtturm journal would have. I still would have preferred a Leuchtturm, but really, six pretty books plus one smaller notebook just won out.) and love how many pages await me! 

 Pretty hardcover journals, Korean stationery, Alice in Wonderland, Washi Tape, Bullet Journaling.

I got two each of these three motives. Isn't the Alice in Wonderland version so cute? I'll use one as a gift and the other one for storyboard sketches. With over 200 pages, that should be enough space to get a lot of pre-comic work done. #2017goals

 My bullet journal and sketchbook, Korean stationery brand. 

Even the back of the books are pretty - though that cat is incredibly creepy. In a good way.

 Cat-themed stationery haul.

On that note: Cats! I also got a slim notebook with a cat print and a couple of adorable cat stickers with my haul. I can't wait to put the stickers to good use!

 Zodiac star constellation doodles for April in my bullet journal.

Monthly Layout in my Bullet Journal

As with the previous months, my planner setup consists of two journals: One for my 'fixed' plans and stats/reviews, one for daily and weekly flexible spreads and to-do lists.

Nothing changed with the former, but I decided to make my monthly overview even smaller.


Since I've got a variety of different projects coming up, all of which have still vague deadlines, I just really can't be bothered with thinking too much about the minutia of the month as a whole. Also, my in-laws will be staying for a week at one point, we'll probably need to go to Seoul and maybe sell our house, so really, I give up on long-term planning

But hey, I really like the zodiac sign doodles for this one!

 Flexible monthly plans, task lists and overall goals in my bullet journal.

Monthly Creative Goals

Instead, my monthly layout consists of weekly to-do lists of major tasks. Broken down into different fields like Art Projects, Etsy and Blogging, these don't have a deadline and I'll just have to finish them sometime during the week. 

This also gives each week a 'theme' so that I can focus more easily whenever I have free time. The theme for week one is 'Historical Dresses'. More on that in a minute!

 Journals and pens everywhere! I love getting pretty stationery...

Journals and pens everywhere! I love getting pretty stationery...

Weekly Plans and To-Do Lists 

Based on those overview-task lists I can move into my weekly plans. This is my very first weekly layout in my new journal! 

I decided to keep it really simple. The top features my main goals as taken from the monthly plan. 
As mentioned in my previous blog post, I really like vertical layouts for my daily to-do lists, so I'll be sticking to those. 

 Weekly layout in my bullet journal for April.

Sloooowly moving along... 

I do have a system for my vertical to-do lists that works well:

  • Main task on top (doesn't mean that's the most time-consuming one - sometimes just a reminder to upload a video)
  • Roughly chronological list of tasks for the day. Pictures for example have to be taken in the morning, afternoons need to leave time for short stints serving guests at the cafe...
  • New Etsy listings have a line in the lower half for themselves. I've got a huge backlog of prepared sticker motives I want to finish up and upload!
  • At the very bottom I added some exercise plans. I REALLY need to get back into doing Yoga and/or Pilates, and having concrete plans helps me a lot more than a vague 'exercise' task.
 Little book tracker in my bullet journal. 2017 reading list - hope that this will grow a lot! 

Little book tracker in my bullet journal. 2017 reading list - hope that this will grow a lot! 

Bullet Journal Tracker: Books I Read in 2017

What else is in my new bullet journal? 
I transferred my little reading list tracker! Audio books are life! I'm 11 books into 2017, all of which were Audible listens. A rainy day drawing while listening to a new book (or an old favorite!) is a good day. 

I continue loving my Sakura Gelly Roll pens. Very cheap, no bleeding and smooth lines. But for really small details like my habit tracker notes or the book titles, I prefer the Muji Pen with its tiny 0.25 tip.

 Korean stationery haul for my bujo pen needs. #stationeryaddict

Korean stationery haul for my bujo pen needs. #stationeryaddict

As part of my haul, I also grabbed a couple of pastel colored markers and gel pens. 

 Korean stationery haul: Markers and gel pens. I tested them in my bullet journal. :)

All the highlighters apply very smoothly! My favorite has to be the Morris Bamboo Liner with two tips and a beautiful pastel blue color. But the color Sakura Gelly Roll pens have actual glitter in them so I'll be forever torn on how to use these! 

Last but not least, the Sakura Souffle pen is a strange one: It's dark gray upon first application, but then it dries and transforms into a lighter gray that looks like matte pudding came out of a pen. Love it! 

I can't wait to get creative with my weekly spreads! The very first one is simple so that I can get my bearings, but I'll be experimenting during April as a whole. 

Some of my ideas below: 

 Coloring page in my bullet journal. 

1. Coloring

I made printable coloring pages with my 'Bonsai' and 'Succulent' doodles, but I want to print them on sticker paper instead so that I can use individual plants as decorations. Not even sure if I'll actually color them or just leave them as line art stickers.

2. Stickers

With spring finally here, I'm in the mood for cute and colorful decorations! On my Kraft journal pages, the stickers had a tendency to stick out TOO much, so now I want to try and integrate them better on my white paper journal pages. 

The daily fashion stickers and coffee stickers above are my new favorites! <3

 #the100dayproject A hundred days of portrait drawings! Day 1.&nbsp;

#the100dayproject A hundred days of portrait drawings! Day 1. 

3. Drawings

I really want to make more time for 'just' drawing. Not work-related sketches or pieces for clients, but little doodles and practice sketches just for myself. That's why I'll participate in #the100dayproject over on Instagram

My theme is 'portraits', though I'm just widely applying it to people in general. I've got so many different art styles I want to try, and portraits/figures show those differences the most, I find. 

So there will be sketches in my bujo for sure, too!

 Renaissance dress coloring page in progress.&nbsp;

Renaissance dress coloring page in progress. 

Coloring Pages and Historical Fashion Illustration

On that note, I've also decided to follow through with a passion of mine: Historical dresses and fashion illustration! I'm such a fan of intricate clothing and can't even narrow it down to a century or continent... so I'll be drawing a variety of different settings over the next couple of weeks.

(Or months. Let's be real here.)

A few of these would also work really well as coloring pages, so those will be up on Etsy in the near future. 

What's your favorite historical time period? 

books-reading-list-bullet-journal.png

I hope you have a productive and creative month! Do you have a personal project that you want to pursue? I can really recommend joining challenges like the 100 Day Project for extra motivation!

Testing Weekly & Daily Layouts in my Bullet Journal

While I've been using planners, journals and sketchbooks for as long as I can remember, I'm new to the more systematic side of planning with a bullet journal. It's also the first time I'm actively trying to not only organize my days and weeks, but to do so beautifully. 

I enjoy the whole process a lot! But of course, there are still parts of the system I'm playing around with. 

 Girl sticker to decorate my Kraft paper bullet journal.&nbsp;

Adapting the Bullet Journal to personal needs

One personal adjustment that works very well for me is keeping anything related to the past - like writing down achievements, social media stats and finances - and fixed dates like deadlines in a separate journal. As I describe in this post on my overall planner and journal setup, this makes one of the two 'bullet journals' a more permanent record keeper, and the other a flexible daily planner. It also gives a great feeling of satisfaction whenever I get to use the 'permanent' journal and write down any results of the past month. 

Another personal adjustment is still very much a work in progress: My weekly and daily layouts.

As a freelancer, self-employed, working from home (and with an unpredictable housing situation in the near future) most of the systems I've tried in the beginning focused too much on events and appointments. Most of my own appointments are very spontaneous (seems to be a culture thing here in Korea - most of the time, friends just drop by the house unannounced) and my days aren't defined by events, work hours or meetings, but projects and tasks. 

What does that mean for my bullet journaling habits? 

  • I don't really need a very detailed monthly overview - most plans fall apart as soon as a new client commission comes in, or a deadline moves up...
  • I need a lot of space to break down projects into smaller and smaller tasks
  • I need to give my days structure through my to-do lists instead of fixed time slots
 Very simple, quick week in my bullet journal. Bit of a mess, but lesson learnt!&nbsp;

Very simple, quick week in my bullet journal. Bit of a mess, but lesson learnt! 

First week: Minimal Approach


Daily layouts: Horizontal with simple task to-do lists
A rough overview of the week on the very top with tiny 'main goals' of each day.
Separate categories: Blog, Etsy, Work/Commissions

These 'main goal' tasks are all nice and good, but I have a tendency to never cross them off after actually finishing the item. I love crossing off in my daily to-do lists but then completely forget to add that final touch...

I also tend to be over ambitious when it comes to planning my week, forgetting that depending on how many guests the cafe I work at has, I don't really have that much free time to work on my own projects or client commissions on the side. Around Thursday, I started re-arranging, adding new tasks, moving around old ones... I prefer just planning day to day with only the most important deadlines written down.

 Using watercolor stickers to organize in my bullet journal - and for the pretty.&nbsp;

Using watercolor stickers to organize in my bullet journal - and for the pretty. 

Second Week: Getting creative! 

The second week of March was where I wanted things to be pretty - mostly since I came out of a bit of a lull after fighting the flu. 

Combining my task lists with simple watercolor stickers my daily spreads more structure. The stickers came in handy in creating a visual separation for different areas of focus. 

I still kept my 'main goals' on top, but with a slightly different arrangement. Again, I kind of just left stuff unmarked despite finishing the tasks and now I'm getting antsy just LOOKING at these pictures!

Habit tracker: First steps for self-care tracking


I've so far never felt the need to add a habit tracker. It just seemed like so much effort for tasks that would, in themselves, already be an effort. I refuse to even write down household chores - I do those on autopilot and I'm trying to keep my journal focused on work and art. :)

BUT. I stand corrected. Habit trackers are fun! I'm still intimidated by large monthly ones, but tiny weekly trackers? Those are the perfect baby steps in the right direction. And since I'm a lot better at working and getting stuff done than I am at actually taking care of myself, I decided to add a little self-care tracker this week (alright, I started Thursday...).


First self-care tracker in my bullet journal:

  • Tea: Instead of counting glasses of water (I drink  A LOT anyway) I kept track of special teas.
  • Skincare: Living in Korea, I've got an abundance of masks and scrubs available, but need to get into the habit of using them more regularly. This worked out great since I wore masks while working in Photoshop or blogging! :)
  • Yoga: I love to exercise. I really do! I was an avid Yoga-Class-Goer when I still lived in Switzerland, and did martial arts and jogging, too. But working out at home? What a failure - I always get distracted by other tasks. Despite all my habit tracker motivation, I got to fill in exactly ZERO here.
  • Massage: I've got this strange wooden contraption for facial massage (like a wooden spatula?) and it's so relaxing to massage my jaw muscles and shoulders with it. I also counted using my oil cleansing step if I focused on doing massage movements instead of just quickly rubbing the oil in.
  • Food: To keep track of any special, healthy food items. Strawberries and Kohlrabi ruled!
  • Supplements: I'm terrible at taking anything regularly, so I started to keep track of my vitamins. The result is sad. 

    I really want to incorporate a self-care habit tracker for real in the coming weeks, if only to show myself that I probably SHOULD do something. 

See that tiny bundle of drawings and text on the upper right side of the journal? That's my first attempt at tracking my habits. Note the empty space next to the lotus flower, which was supposed to track yoga.

So in the following week, I added the habit tracker on the very top, slightly reduced. Does this even count as a habit tracker? I write in variations instead of just filling out task boxes...

Love keeping track of all the strange teas I drink! And the skincare tracker got me to use some old products (and my skin looked great that week haha). 

Yoga/meditation/pilates/ANYTHING that you can't do while working on other tasks is still my biggest struggle. 

The supplements are a great thing to track, though.

I'm not yet happy with the overall tracking system, though. Maybe I should make some sort of stickers...? Give myself more space? 

 Self-care habit tracker experiment in my bullet journal. Tea, skincare, yoga and supplements.

Self-care habit tracker experiment in my bullet journal. Tea, skincare, yoga and supplements.

Week 3: Structure with boxes and drawings

The habit tracker did replace those pesky 'main goals'. If I was afraid of forgetting anything, I could just look it up in my permanent planner and write it in ahead of time in my dailies. 

This week I focused on structure in my layouts by drawing boxes and flags to contain my to-do lists.

While I love my Kraft paper sketchbook, I do find that the brown hue is a bit of a visual distraction. The contrast between my black pen and the background isn't big enough to make individual items pop. This was when I started looking around for a white, blank journal. All my sketchbooks are already in use, and while Korean stationery stores are adorable, most of their journals are either lined or already outfitted with (really cute!) planner layouts. 

 End of the week in my bullet journal. You can see at what point in time I got the flu and fell off the task list wagon. ;)

End of the week in my bullet journal. You can see at what point in time I got the flu and fell off the task list wagon. ;)

This was the week when my flu came back with a vengeance. My weekend to-do lists are pathetic thanks to that.

I like adding little drawings, but again, the overall combination of drawings, task lists AND the background color can be a bit of an overkill. 

 Mistakes in my bullet journal. Messed up the date of all things... and the stickers hides a smudged drawing for my skincare habit tracker.&nbsp;

Mistakes in my bullet journal. Messed up the date of all things... and the stickers hides a smudged drawing for my skincare habit tracker. 

Week 4: Streamlining & Stickers

Ah, date mistakes. One huge disadvantage of a Kraft paper journal: It's impossible to correct any mistakes, so my week will forever start out with that 'lol nope' at the very top.

The yoga tracker became even smaller. Did I hope to be less intimidated by it if it was tiny? I seem to just have forgotten about it instead. 

I messed up the skincare drawing for that tracker, so I put a sticker on top of it. 

As you can see, instead of tracking habits over days, I set myself goals of 'five times per week' or 'four skincare efforts per week' - didn't like how that turned out, though. Also, where the #@* did my supplements and tea tracker go?

That's what I mean with 'not good at self-care'. I always replace simple, relaxing things with more drawing ideas, instead. 

I had a free day on the 22nd (as in, no construction/renovation work, and the cafe closed) so we went to the city to meet friends and I went on the hunt for sticker paper. 

Also, our cat Hedwig got hurt (probably fell down somewhere...) so that's where the little cat doodle came from. 

Of course, I had to test out my new pens. I love them - they're by the Japanese brand Sakura, actually. But the (beautiful) gray pen just didn't look good on my Kraft paper. This was when I decided to go ahead and order a new journal for next month instead of using sketchbook leftovers like this. I'm already fully committed to the whole journaling system after three months, so the investment seems worth it.

The white gel pen does look so pretty on Kraft paper, though. Ah, I'll be forever torn on this. 

This week was also a week with fewer commissions/client work, and I went ahead with a lot of personal projects, instead. From coloring pages to new sticker motives, vocabulary illustrations to blog posts... 

 Simple vertical task lists really work for me. I'll be keeping these for future daily spreads in my bujo!

Last days of March: Switching it up

Monday came with a large dinner event, which had us go to the city again to do a month's worth of grocery shopping. And stationery! New sticker paper and pens were in order since the stationery store from last week had nothing waterproof and no glossy sticker paper.  

More by accident than by design, I started to list my tasks vertically instead of horizontally. I really liked the result for Monday and kept the layout for the entire week. This automatically makes my lists look cleaner, more structured and gives a nice sense of time - top of the list is for morning tasks, bottom for evening tasks. It's a nice mix of day structure and flexibility. 
 

 My To-Do lists hurt my head... bullet journaling really helps with being productive and not getting overwhelmed by large tasks!

Due to a mix of optimism and stupidity, I left out Saturday and Sunday - I'd hoped for my journal online order to arrive before the weekend and switch to that one for the new month. 

While it's nice to have more space, the task lists seem to look less neat the wider they become. 

Bullet journal inspiration and lessons learned:

  1. Arrange dailies in vertical blocks instead of horizontal ones.
  2. Go roughly in chronological order when writing task lists down for the day. First task of the day: Top of the list. 
  3. Putting the most important or big task of the day at the top of a list has me paralyzed like a deer in headlights. 
  4. Habit trackers are fun.
  5. Habit trackers are hard.
  6. I really need to ... get into the habit of using a habit tracker. There's an inception joke somewhere in there. 
  7. Stickers can be used to add structure.
  8. My handwriting looks better when I elongate my letters.
  9. I can't draw straight lines with gel pens.
  10. Weeklies don't work for me - I'll just add important dates to my dailies directly. 

That's it for my bullet journal month. I love playing around with different layouts and new ideas, but need to keep it simple or else I get overwhelmed. 

I already look forward to trying new layouts on white paper in April! What are your favorite bullet journal spreads?

All stickers seen are made by me and can be found in my Etsy shop or in my Freebie section here on the blog. 

 Girl 'lazy day' stickers - yoga, self-care stickers.&nbsp;