The first, and most essential item you need for bullet journaling is a notebook. The second is a good pen (or pencil if you prefer). One of the challenges with starting a bullet journal is feeling like you need to go out and buy all the stationery supplies. You don’t. And I’d highly recommend you work with what you’ve got before buying more.
But there will come a time when you feel ready to try a new notebook, and you might want a good pen to write in it. I’ve been bullet journaling for a good few years now and I’ve tried many different writing tools. Some are good, some not so good. So today, I’m going to share what I think are the best pens for bullet journaling.
What To Consider
Finding the right pen for your bullet journal might seem intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Before deciding on a pen there are a few factors which you will want to take into consideration.
- Versatility: Can it be used for many tasks or one intended purpose? For example, is it waterproof? Or will you need to use a different pen if you intend on painting over your ink?
- Reviews: What are people saying about the pen? Don’t just take my word that a pen might be good. You want what works for you so you should look at multiple reviews.
- Cost: Is the pen reasonably priced or on the expensive side?
- Personal Preference: We all have little quirks when it comes to pens. This is only natural. You might hate a pen which others love. When choosing brands, go for the ones you know you like.
- Practicality: Are you going to use the pen? This can sometimes be a hard question to answer. You don’t want to go spending money on something you never use.
One more point you need to consider is how the pen works with your chosen notebook. Unfortunately, due to the number of notebooks out there, I can’t comment on how the ink will react on every paper type. But it is something to consider. You don’t want to buy a pen only to learn it bleeds on your favourite notebook paper.
(I had this exact experience recently where I learned my favourite ink and Lamy Safari combination wouldn’t work on my Field Notes notebook. It was a sad time.)
The Zebra Mildliners are a popular choice among students, artists and anyone who likes adding a bit of colour to their bullet journals. These highlighters feature a pastel colour palette, which makes them a great alternative to neon highlighters. Though these colours are now more common to see in highlighters, this wasn’t always the case. Many brands sell highlighters in pastel colours but the Zebra Mildliners remain the best.
The pens are double-ended, with a chisel nib and bullet nib. This makes them extremely versatile no matter if you’re using the highlighters for taking notes or decorating your bullet journal.
A small tip for anyone looking to buy the Zebra Mildliners in the UK; buy them from Tesco. The Mildliners being sold on Amazon tend to be very expensive so avoid them if possible. However, Tesco has recently begun selling the Mildliners in sets of 5 and 10 highlighters and these are much cheaper.
Tombow Dual Brush Marker
I always try to go for full honesty on my blog so I’ll say the Tombow Dual Brush Markers are not my favourite marker pen. Yes, they’re great, and they seem to be very popular among the bullet journal types.
However, this is a very thick brush nib which I find very difficult to work with. They have a great colour range so make them a brilliant choice for brush lettering, but you do need to know how to use them.
Though I’m not a huge fan of the Tombow Dual Brush Markers, I can’t say the same for the Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen. As the name suggests, this is another brush marker, but this time featuring a very small brush nib. This allows for precise strokes and a range of line widths, making them suitable for calligraphy and lettering styles.
The pens are lightweight and easy to use, making them a favourite among artists. If you’re looking to create lettering, or draw fine details, these pens are a great choice.
Muji Gel Pen
The Muji gel pens are my favourite type of pen. I probably use my Muji pens daily and love them. Though they are not universally loved; I will admit they are not the nicest pen to use for a lot of writing. Despite saying that, I think they are great gel pens and if you like a 0.38mm pen these are the gel pens to go with.
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
The Lamy Safari fountain pens are a great choice if you’re just starting with fountain pens. These pens are sturdy but lightweight, making them comfortable to use for extended writing sessions. Their nibs offer consistent ink flow, for ease of writing, and they have a selection of nib widths to choose from.
The Lamy Safaris come in a range of colours though there is a small range of ink cartridges to choose from. It’s possible to buy a converter for your fountain pen allowing you to choose from a wide range of bottled ink brands. I’ve recently gotten into buying bottled ink for my Lamy pen and I can genuinely say it’s a game-changer.
Just remember, if you’re getting started with bullet journaling, don’t feel pressured to buy all the pens. It’s a waste and realistically, you can only use one pen at a time.
The best thing to do is start with what you already have and then buy more once you’ve figured out how you like to use your bullet journal. Start small with a few black pens and then you can maybe think about integrating colour if it will help you keep your bullet journal organised. One of the best things you can do is experiment and figure out what works best for you.