This week I’m back to talking about stationery! In the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot more mini live videos of my planning and questions I get asked a lot and questions I see a lot all over Bullet Journaling groups is about which markers to buy for a Bullet Journal. Well there is a lot of choice so this blog post is here to help you decide which are the best coloured markers to use in your Bullet Journal.
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Check Your Paper
We can’t talk pens without talking about paper. The paper you’re using will have a big effect on the pen’s ability to ‘perform’ well. Cheap paper will struggle to handle any pen and is likely to ghost and even -gasp- bleed through! So if you’re going to spend money on anything spend it on the notebook! A journal with good paper above 120gsm should handle most water-based markers but paper quality still varies.
Best practice is to actually test your coloured markers in your Bullet Journal before you use them to create a spread. A pen test at the back of your journal is a good idea to make sure that a pen won’t ruin the next few pages of your journal by bleeding through.
What is Bleeding and Ghosting?
Bleeding is when ink actually bleeds through the paper and goes through to the other side. Sometimes this can even mark subsequent pages in low quality paper journals.
Ghosting is when the marker lines are visible from the other side of the page. They haven’t bled through but they are visible which can impact how the next page will look.
Water or Alcohol Based Ink?
Another consideration is the ink base of the marker. They will be either water based or alcohol based. Water based ink is non-toxic. Alcohol based markers are permanent and have a higher pigment. Alcohol based markers are often used by professional artists and are a lot pricier but permanent markers like Sharpies are also alcohol based. If you’re just using an everyday journal then alcohol based markers aren’t the best option as they are prone to bleeding and ghosting because of the high pigment.
This will happen in most popular Bullet Journaling notebooks. The only journal I’ve found that can handle a Sharpie with no bleeding is a Scribbles that Matter Dotted Journal. It’s a shame because there are a lot of sharpie colours and they’re often sold in cheaper bulk packs but even popular high quality notebooks often fall flat faced with them. As I said before make sure you test your coloured markers in your Bullet Journal!
Dual Tip Markers
If you go for a dual tip marker you have two pens in one – what’s not to love?! There are a few options for dual tip markers depending on what kinds of tips you need. So here are the most popular configurations.
Markers and Fineliners
The first option is a basic thicker marker tip and then a fineliner tip on the other end. An example of these is the dual-tip Tombow Twin Tone markers. They have a felt marker tip and a plastic fine tip. I use these a lot and it’s a great pen to use when creating Bullet Journaling spreads that look coherent as you can use the marker side to colour in large areas and the fineliner to write and add finer details. They come in a large range of colours including packs of bright, rainbow and pastels. Get them here from Under the Rowan Trees for £19.95 per pack.
Brush pens are a very popular dual tip option. What I like about dual tip brush pens is that when you’re starting out and your brush lettering is looking a little messy you can often save it by using the finer marker end. Most brush pens have a felt tip end which isn’t as thin as a fineliner. The most popular water based markers are Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pens but they are pretty pricey at £2.95 a pen. Another great option with a really fine tip on the other end is Arteza Sketch TwiMarkers which are available in a set of 100 or 48 giving you an incredible selection of colours.
I’m not going to talk too much about highlighters here. (I have an entire blog post dedicated to pastel highlighters!) but they’re worth a mention as a dual tip marker. If you’re studying and making notes highlighting information is useful but to also have a finer coloured tip to add information that matches a colour scheme is a big winner for me.
The popular choice is the Zebra Mildliner. They come in a few really cool colour packs including pastels, brights and cool colours. You can get all the packs (and the brush versions) on Kawaii Pen Shop with 10% off with the code MAGPIE10.
On a Budget
Finally I wanted to just add in a budget section because you really don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy markers. As I said before – good paper will really help you out and there are a lot of budget options that are still really popular among Bullet Journaling celebrities
These are the perfect started marker for a Bullet Journaling beginner. They’re so cheap and available so widely. Next time you’re in your local supermarket take a look in their stationery aisle and you’ll probably find them. You can get this pack of 24 colours on Amazon for only £5.99! An absolute bargain when it comes to markers that are still amazing quality.
They’re also popular for those who want to have a go at brush lettering because they have a chisel tip which means you can draw thick and thin lines. The only downside to Crayola Supertips is that they’re not super durable and you can lose the ability to draw a thin line quite quickly if you put a lot of pressure on the tip.