The Bullet Journal January setup or any first setup in a new bullet journal always has something special. It will be the first time the journal is really used and it will also be the pages you see over and over again throughout the year. So there is some pressure that the pages have to be beautiful and you have to like them.
This bullet journal setup for January is part of the bullet journal I gave away for Christmas 2022. Here you can find the yearly setup for this journal: Bullet Journal Inspiration – Minimal 2023 Setup
Here are the facts about the journal: It is an A5 journal by Archer & Olive with dotted white pages. For the setup, I used different shades of green from my Tombow Dual Brush Pens. I especially liked the numbers 076, N57, 312 and 192 in combination with the brown shade 992.
The Cover Page
At the beginning of each month, I designed a cover page for the entire month. I wanted to capture the mood of the month’s set-up and show “Hey this month is all about plants”. I found inspiration for this image on Pinterest. Here’s the original Instagram post about it: https:Instagram/amandarechlee
However, since it was a bit too boring for me to design everything in one shade of green, I used the different Tombows for the plants. The great thing about these pens is that you can layer them nicely. This means that when I colour in the area once, it is the lightest, and the more often I colour over this area, the darker the colour tone becomes. This makes it possible to draw in great shadows or indentations and also create colour variations without needing extra pens.
I used a black fineliner with a thickness of 0.05 to outline the plants.
Since there wasn’t enough space in the middle at the end for the title of the month, I wrote it on an extra sheet, cut it out and pasted it in. To make it fit better into the overall picture, I added little stars and sparks at the end.
The Monthly Overview
The monthly overview is super simple and clear. Since this will be the first bullet journal for the person, I made sure to use really intuitive page layouts for the start, as you know them from “normal” calendars. One box is 3×3 cm (remember, the overall size of the journal is A5).
Again, I switched between the different shades of green, but this time I limited myself to the Tombows 312 and 192. This way the overview is varied without being too exciting.
I have designed the title in exactly the same way as on the cover page. Since the page still had a lot of space on the left-hand side, I decided to add some plants there. Small doodles of individual plants could have been placed here. However, I stumbled across this post on Instagram and wanted to integrate something similar: instagram.com/ambersnotebooks
In contrast to the cover page, here I only sketched out the grid of the window in advance and then just started drawing randome plants as they came into my head. None of the plants have super much detail or were outlined with a fineliner. I deliberately wanted to create the effect of standing in front of a milky glass-like window and seeing the plants slightly out of focus.
Since this bullet journal is not for me, but for someone else, I decided to design each weekly overview so that a week fits on a double page. Within a month, the weekly overviews are always identical and vary at most in the colour shades used.
As already written, the overviews in January should be as similar as possible to “classical” calendars. Therefore, I have divided the two pages into 4 equal-sized boxes by drawing the halves of the pages horizontally and vertically. Each day of the week has got a box. At the top left, there is always the date in a circle and directly next to it the abbreviation for the day of the week.
The upper left box offers space for additional tasks for that week. At this point, you could also create space for notes, habits or a small drawing.
In addition to the weekly overviews, each month in this bullet journal has an extra page for notes. This page is super simple and only has the title at the top right and then two small plant doodles. The plants are again not outlined with a fineliner. Instead, I used the thin side of the Tombow Brush Pens and outlined the areas in the corresponding colour. This gives the doodles a softer border than a black line would. Overall, this page is quite empty to leave as much space as possible for notes.
The first month in a new bullet journal always brings a big hurdle for me, as it’s the first time you’re using it and laying the foundation of the journal for the rest of the year. Overall, though, I’m very happy with this Bullet Journal January setup. It fits in well with the minimalist yearly setup and although there are lots of different shades on show, it’s not too colourful.
There are of course many different ways to use plant doodles. The whole thing could also have been much less green and instead had more the colours of flowers. I deliberately did without flowering plants here, as I wanted to keep a monochrome colour world.
If you’re looking for more inspiration now, here’s my January setup from 2021 and 2020.
Until next time, Xo — L