Hand Lettering and Bullet Journaling Class

Journaling Badge, Step 2

Looking at beautiful hand lettering pieces brings me such joy, so when we were looking for a class to “learn from others” about journaling, we thought a Bullet Journal or hand lettering class would be perfect. In Chicago, the land of many classes, we were able to find one that allowed us to do both! With a little water color painting lesson thrown in to boot.

In today’s post we bring you along on the journaling class we took to earn our Journaling Badge. Find out what we learned and what we thought of our instructor (spoiler: she was great!). Then, scroll to the bottom of the post to check out the video we made recapping our hand lettering class experience.

Earn the Journaling Badge

If you are interested in earning the Journal Badge yourself, you can see the Journal Badge Guide, or “recipe” for the badge here. Each Badge Guide contains three steps to be completed in order to earn the badge. These steps can be done on your own, but we encourage you to grab a few friends and learn together!

Step 2 of any badge is to learn from others. Taking an organized class is a great way to do this step if you can find one!

We weren’t quite sure what to expect when our Uber dropped us off on a fairly quiet street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago on a Friday evening in January. After finding an unassuming door that matched the address we had, we rang the buzzer. We were warmly greeted by Jen, our class instructor, and ushered into a hip-ly decorated “social club” where Chicagoans with tight living quarters can host events and work away from home. Jen had our class set up in the club’s dining room, which was a lovely space with ambiance and good lighting.

Jen’s teaching table was set up like something out of a craft-lover’s dream! There was paint and watercolor paper, paintbrushes, stickers, stacks of washi tape, acrylics, cute cups full of gel pens, pencils, and black pens with different tip thicknesses. She had plenty of examples of hand lettering projects she had completed.

Jen got us settled with our snacks and drinks and then gave us an overview of the class. The plan was simple but allowed us to experiment with a variety of new skills: paint a watercolor background, let it dry, practice handlettering and talk bullet journal layouts, and then hand letter something (like a quote or phrase or word) onto our watercolor backgrounds.

Perhaps my favorite part of the class was the way Jen started off, which was to tell us that there is no such thing as perfection, especially when it comes to watercolor and handlettering, but instead, the imperfect is beautiful and perfect in it’s own way! It was a great way to set the stage for the night – it was clear that this was a safe space for exploring and making beautiful mistakes.

To start, we each took a large piece of watercolor paper and wetted it down with a large brush. Jen then showed us how to add color with smaller brushes, one at a time, and allow the colors to run together. You can also pull the colors toward one another using a paintbrush. In the picture above, you can see the two watercolor backgrounds I made. The larger one took me a long time. I even added some metallic embellishments with acrylic paint. The smaller one, which I ended up liking a lot better, took all of one minute to splash on the page.

Once our watercolor backgrounds were set, we moved on to hand lettering. Jen had bullet paper ready for us to practice on. One of her great tips was not to fight against our natural handwriting, instead embellish what we’ve already got! I loved this idea – instead of trying to copy handwriting from Pinterest, make my own lettering italicized, add dots, or add serifs. She also taught us about “bounce” or varying the height and placement of some of the letters in the word. In the lower word “love” in the photo to the right, there is quite a bit of bounce. Right above it, “love” appears with less bounce.

After practicing the quotes or words we wanted to use later on our watercolor backgrounds, we discussed some bullet journaling ideas. Jen had a lot of good ideas for using a journal to reflect on the month, day, or year. I’ve been using my journal primarily for planning, tracking, and thinking about the future so I found her ideas inspiring.

Finally, we took the plunge and hand lettered on our watercolor backgrounds! I love the way each and every one of them turned out. Some of us did song lyrics, others did quotes, and I did “joyful” and “spread joy.” Check out the video below to see our class in action and see our finished products.

If you want to learn more about journaling, we’ve written about the history of journaling and famous journal keepers. We’ve also posted about various types of journals and journaling benefits.

For Step 3 of the Journaling Badge we are “giving the gift of journaling” and showing you how we track our 20 goals for 2020 in our Bullet Journals! Stay tuned for those posts soon!

We want to hear from you! Do you Bullet Journal? Have you tried your hand at hand-lettering? Do you find watercolor painting relaxing or challenging? Message us on Instagram or Facebook or drop us a line here.

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