Bleeding and ghosting are two common issues when writing in your journal, so how are you to know which pens are best suited for preventing this? This article will show you the way.
There is no shortage of variety on the market when it comes to daily task planners, but there isn’t a single one that has been able to serve multiple needs perfectly. The Bullet Journal, however, is an exception. It begins with a blank journal that seems extremely simple, but work with it a little while and you’ll notice that it’s the organizer you have been needing all this time.
The Bullet Journal system is superior to online planning for a few different reasons. The mind approaches physical methods for organization differently. Writing information down physically helps your memory store it more successfully and with a physical notebook, you never have to worry about running out of battery.
Now that you’re ready to use your Bullet Journal, you’ll want to know which pen to buy with it. In order to make this process easier for you, we’ve gathered a list of the best options available on the market right now.
The Best Pens for Your Bullet Journal
The following products were selected based on personal experience and user feedback. You’ll see that each one is best suited for specific needs and tastes.
- Sharpie Pen, Medium Point
- Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point
- Pilot MR Retro Pop
- Tombow Fudenosuke
- Tombow Dual Brush
Sharpie Pen, Medium Point
The medium Sharpie Pen is a timeless classic. It offers the finesse and workability of a typical pen with the thick bold lines of a marker. It’s a versatile product that can be used for making layouts and for writing. It comes in a variety of colors, but black may be best for your Bullet Journal, for simplicity’s sake.
“Aside from the actual journal, my Sharpie Pen is the workhorse of my bullet journal essentials,” said Emily from Minnevore. “I have probably used this type of pen for 99% of the writing in my journals. Although I’m not usually a fan of felt tip-like markers, I really like the boldness of these pens and how they write in these journals.”
Your daily writing tasks will be made much easier with a Sharpie, which offers a smooth experience, a comfortable writing format, quality ink, and clear and legible text. All of this makes the medium Sharpie ideal for making cards, writing letters, journaling, and taking important notes in your Bullet Journal throughout the day.
The waterproof, quick-dry ink resists both bleeding and fading, creating a lasting impact that won’t wear off with time. You’ll also be happy to know that the ink in this pen has been AP certified as nontoxic, which is why they are used often in classrooms.
Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point
This classic felt pen allows you to express your thoughts with color and true style. It’s perfectly suited for the Bullet Journal, but you’ll find plenty of use from it apart from that, too. Available in eight different colors, the Paper Mate Flair offers expressive, bold lines and is ideal for editing papers or documents.
“I love the Flair pens because they provide a nice medium-point line weight without feeling very heavy,” said Heidi at Happiness is Homemade, “The colors are bold and vibrant, and they don’t bleed through the pages of my journal.”
The pen comes with Point Guard technology, designed to offer the felt tip protection. In addition, the water-based and quick drying ink won’t bleed through and ruin the pages beneath the one you write on. Paper Mate is a known and trusted brand and this particular pen design is no exception, offering great value for what you pay.
These pens not only write well but can be used for months and months without leaking or getting ink where it isn’t supposed to be. Since the tips are ultra fine, make sure you’re not applying too much pressure as this could cause the tip to push in slightly. The pens will last a long time, even with regular use.
For those who need to draw precise lines, fill in tiny details, or do outlines, these are perfect. Keep in mind that with super fine point pens, you need to make sure you’re holding the pen at the right angle, which makes quick notes or scribbles a little challenging, compared to thicker pens. For those who wish to write quicker, the medium Flair pens might be better.
Pilot MR Retro
This option offers a simple writing experience at an affordable price and has quickly become a favorite for many Bullet Journal users. The Pilot MR Retro offers an attractive, vintage design, as implied by the name and is especially useful for people who prefer writing in cursive.
For those who enjoy writing long journal entries, fountain pens are less of a strain for your hands. After using this elegant design, you may find it difficult to return to typical ball point pens.
“If you love writing, you should absolutely get one,” said Shelby at Little Coffee Fox. “They provide a feeling of luxury and seriousness to my writing, which makes me want to use it again and again.”
The unique design of the Pilot MR retro, along with its matte finish and subtly patterned accent ring, make it an ideal gift for the writer in your family. The fine point and brass barrel on the stainless steel nib prove that this product was designed with the highest standards in mind. When you order this pen, it will arrive with a pre-filled and easily refillable cartridge of black ink and a squeeze converter.
For those who are unfamiliar with pens like this, it comes with an instruction pamphlet that will review the converter and how to use the cartridges. The pen is simple to use, comes in a variety of attractive colors, and writes smoothly.
This purchase will come with both the hard and soft tipped Fudenosuke Brush Pens. These pens are great for your Bullet Journal, but that’s far from all they’re good for. The ink is pigmented, black, and water-based, and ideal for art drawings and calligraphy.
The pen creates medium, fine, or extra-fine strokes with a simple change in pressure and comes with a flexible tip for various drawing and lettering techniques. After a bit of practice, this will come quite naturally.
“These really are good pens,” said Kalina Wilson at Pen Addict. “They fill one specific niche perfectly, and it’s one that makes them understandably attractive to comics artists/cartoonists: they provide a fine, consistent line that is capable of variation when you want it.”
These pens are simple to use, just make sure you practice writing lightly on upstrokes and applying a bit more pressure on your down strokes. Even for those who are not particularly gifted in the handwriting department, these will be easy to use for small embellishments, hand-lettered notes, and headers in your Bullet Journal.
The hard tip is better suited for word bubbles, lettering, and whatever you need to use a consistent and solid line for, and the soft tip has greater variability and ink flow, making it ideal for artsy projects, quick strokes, and longer strokes. For writing in your Bullet Journal, the soft tip is best.
Tombow Dual Brush Pen
For those who are interested in brush lettering but at a loss as to where to begin, the TomBow Dual Brush Pen is your best bet. The colors are bright and vibrant and the tip of the brush is flexible and strong. In addition, you can mix the colors to create a fading effect without ruining the lighter shades. For these reasons, the Tombow Dual Brush Pen is the best pick for artists.
“Unlike alcohol markers, these do not bleed to the opposite page. They also do not smell. The ink is acid-free and toxic-free,” said Teoh Yi Chie at Parka Blogs. “And since they are water and dye-based inks, they are not archival and will fade when expose to light in the long term.”
For those who like to use handwritten typefaces and do illustration and calligraphy, this pen is a good option. It has quality fluid output, offers a super black ink, and won’t bleed, even under spilled water!
The option for using either the soft or hard is great for versatile projects and you can use both for more variety. The hard pen will offer you better control, making it more ideal for beginners. These pens are perfect for those serious about decorating, especially people who have a Bullet Journal covered with doodles and colored hand lettering.
Using a Key for Your Bullet Journal
Since the main point of a Bullet Journal is making it super customized for your schedule and needs, using a key is the next logical step for your planner. Although there are endless modules and extensions to use with your journal, a simpler approach is definitely better, especially for those new to this.
A key is essentially an organized and well-structured legend that will help you both understand and execute your tasks in an easy, simple manner. The legend should be your first step with the journal. Although daily task lists are the most popular use with Bullet Journals, the best part about the system is how much flexibility it offers for whatever is needed.
From ongoing project notes, to diet plans, to monthly business overviews, you can modify your bullets to suit your life. Each of the bullets in your journal stands for a different note type, so in your first or second page, make a system like this to help you monitor notes, events, and tasks:
- Notes: You can use a dash symbol (-) to denote important tidbits you need to recall later, such as a definition from class or a thought you don’t have time to delve into at the moment but must look into again.
- Tasks: A bullet point can be used to denote an actionable task or item that must be completed. You can place an ‘X’ over the bullet point to show yourself that you’ve completed the task.
- Events: You can use a circle to signify an important event you must remember. Events will be entries that are date-related, such as your cousin’s birthday. You can also log something after it’s already happened, such as “did my job interview.” You should try to use objective, short words for these entries and save the more detailed journal entries for later.
Following these simple legend tips will help you make the most of your Bullet Journal, but you can always feel free to modify these guidelines as you see fit. Happy planning!
Looking for more pen and planning inspiration? Check out our favorite lightboxes for tracing if you’re into artistic sketching, or check out the best alcohol-based markers. For those who love classic Moleskine journals, check out our favorite Moleskine alternatives.