Bullet Journal Ideas

Monkey Themed Bullet Journal Monthly Calendar

So I decided to push the envelope, so to speak.

Rather than doing yet another work related BuJo post, I decided I’d get creative and try something more artistic.

I use a Blackwing Slate Notebook for my personal bullet journal. I like the thicker 100GSM pages, 5 MM bullet spacing and the pen/pencil loop on the spine of the journal.

Since it’s a new year, and a fresh month, I decided that I’d do a monthly calendar spread that was a bit out of the norm for me. Usually I just run the dates down the left side of the page, and put info to the right of them.

This month, I decided that I’d actually create a calendar.

I was trying to figure out what to do, when I came across this post on Reddit.

Cecile, creator of Cissy’s art cafe did a year of doodles for her monthly calendar pages, and I thought it was a fantastic idea!

Source: Cissy’s Art Cafe

I love drawing, and I used to create comic art, so this was the perfect thing for a monthly bullet journal calendar page layout.

I started off by studying how she created her boxes. I realized as I was looking at the yearly calendar here that some months need six rows where most others need five.

Looking at Cecile’s monthly layouts, I realize that she was toggling back and forth between the weeks starting on Monday on some months, and weeks starting on Sunday for November and December.

Looking at the 2018 calendar, switching between Sunday and Monday as the weekly start date won’t work for December, but it will work in April.

December, I will have to add 31st at the top of the calendar to keep the five row spread. Not the worst thing in the world, so I decided to proceed with the bujo layout.

Creating A Box Template for the Bullet Journal

The first thing I did was create a box template so that it would be easy to create the calendar boxes each month.

I took my 2017 Bullet Journal and sacrificed a page from somewhere near the back of the book by carefully cutting it out of the journal with an X-Acto knife.

I then studied Cecile’s layout to get the box sizes. My Slate journal has 24 bullets across and 40 bullets down.

Cecile’s is similar, and I easily found out that her boxes were 5 bullets across and 6 down.

Additionally, she put three boxes across on the left page, and four boxes across on the right page leaving herself extra room for notes to the left and top of the calendar.

On the page that was cut out, I carefully measured out the boxes. I created four boxes across, and five down. This layout would cover every month of the year.

The idea was to create this box template and be able to put it under either the left or right page and trace out the boxes without measuring or thinking about spacing.

After penciling the boxes in, I took my Pigma Micron 0.80 MM Fineliner and inked the boxes in broad, dark lines so they could be seen through the thick 100 GSM paper.

That done, I placed the template behind the left page, and used the three boxes on the right of the template (and all five boxes down), lining up the dots on the bullet journal page and the box corners. I put a dot at each corner as a guide for inking the lines in the actual 2018 bullet journal.

I then did the same on the right, using all four boxes across and all five boxes down.

Once completed, I then used my metal 6 inch Westcott ruler to guide the Micron 8 MM pen to draw the lines. I chose the Westcott ruler because it has a cork backing that stands the edge up off the paper two millimeters. By lifting the edge, I don’t have issues with smudging or “line bleed” when the ink seeps under the ruler and runs down the length of the edge.

Finally, I took my PrismaColor #005 ultra-fine fineliner pen and put a line in the upper right corner to create a triangle out of the corner to make space for the day number.

What To Draw?

That’s always a biggie. I liked Cecile’s idea, but I didn’t want to copy it. That’s her work.

I decided that I would theme each month.

I don’t quite know how I decided to do animals, but I was stuck between doing a layout with monkeys and penguins. I decided that I’d do Monkeys in January and maybe penguins in February.

Since I really didn’t know how to draw a monkey, I went to quite a few sites to look at vector images and comic art of monkeys. I did a few test doodles, and decided that doing monkeys was going to work, and being January 3rd already, I had three to do.

The idea for each day I did get from Cecile. Take one significant thing from each day, and doodle it.

  • Monday was New Years day, so I created the Monkey partying.
  • Tuesday there was a lot of snow coming down, and my wife and I spent a large part of the day going out and shoveling the drive (a few times so that the snow wouldn’t build up). I drew a monkey shoveling snow.
  • Wednesday it was back to work. I drew a monkey at the computer with a large coffee next to him as he worked.

Today is Thursday, and I am working. I have four meetings today, so I’ll probably do a monkey sitting in meetings.

I decided to shade the monkey doodles using my Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pens in Cold Grey III 232**  and a lighter Cold Grey I 230**

The yellow is actually not highlighter, it’s LAMY Charged Green ink diluted to a light ink wash (10:1) and brushed in with a paint brush.

We’ll see how the rest of the month pans out, but this is actually a lot of fun to do, and if you’re looking for a really cool way to do a monthly layout, go check out Cecile’s post for the original idea!


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