5 tips for an Instagram-worthy journal

Vernise Tantuco

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5 tips for an Instagram-worthy journal
Now that you've got your bullet journal format down, what's next? Here's how you can pretty-up your notebooks

Searching for the perfect planner can suck you into a vortex. You have to find the perfect paper type for your pens, the right pens for your paper, the right planner format for optimal productivity, and maybe you’ll even look into learning calligraphy, so your notebooks can look as #goals as the ones you see on Instagram.

We know – we’ve been there.

Despite all the time, effort, and money we put into maximizing our planners and journals and trying to make them look good, though, it’s frustrating when they don’t turn out the way we thought they would.

To help us out, Gail Anne Madalag of The MD Writes, popular journaler Aina Reyes, and Lennie Dionisio of The Curious Artisan gave us a few tips and tricks for getting started on calligraphy and adding oomph to our lackluster notebooks.

Find the right tools

Some people can make great lettering with markers, while others prefer sticking to nibs and ink. Whatever writing implement you prefer might affect what kind of paper you use, and the purpose of your notebook – be it a journal, planner, diary, or all 3 – will affect your preferred size.

Still, this doesn’t mean you should break the bank for your new hobby. Read up on reviews for materials, visit your local stationery store, or visit bazaars to learn more about what might be best for you.

Unboxing the Istorya Time Travel Kit transports you back in time as every piece of this kit is dedicated to little pieces of history and the moments we capture, remember and preserve. Thoughtfully crafted and curated with vintage authenticity, it is limited to 50 pieces only.  Order yours here: https://thecuriousartisan.com/products/istorya-time-travel-journal . This kit also includes the following exclusive free activities during Istorya Vintage Fair to be held at SM Aura on May 19-20, 2018: •Have your initials foiled on your journal by my Kingsley •3 instant photo prints •Use of a vintage typewriter •Use of dip pen calligraphy •Use of my collection of 19th century wax seals •Use of my collection of vintage passport and postal rubber stamp . FREE ENTRANCE Event details! Bit.ly/IstoryaAura May 14-20: U/G floor- Istorya exhibit May 19-20: Level 3 – Vintage and Antique Fair . #istoryavintagefair #antique #vintage #timetraveljournal #artinaura #journaling #journal

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Upcycle old stamps, stickers, and cards

Lennie is a huge collector of antiques, including stamps and postcards, even labels of old products. Sticking ephemera onto your journals can make them look pretty without too much effort.


Lennie also sells beautiful locally made pen holders for nibs that will inspire you to work harder on your penmanship, foiling pens for customizing your notebooks, and wax seals.


Work with your strengths

A doctor by profession, Gail found comfort in learning the rules and guidelines for Copperplate calligraphy before she developed her own style. Aina used to write in small neat print before she began to learn calligraphy – and it shows in her style too.

Their writing wasn’t perfect at first, and your journals won’t be either. Eventually, you’ll develop your own style and journaling and writing will come more naturally to you.


Attend workshops, but try to learn on your own too

If you’re thinking of learning calligraphy to up your journaling game, there are a lot of workshops in the market nowadays. Those can get you started on the right path, but it helps to use other sources to learn as well. The calligraphy and journaling community wasn’t as big when Aina and Gail started a few years ago, so they used other sources that were available to them to learn.

Thankful for the times that I could crack open my copy of the Zanerian Manual and nerd over the samples of the masters.. I know I should be working on my ornamental penmanship and italics but whenever I see Howe and Baird’s work.. I just can’t help but be in awe (and stay that way)  There’s just this seeming need to stop whatever I’m doing so just I could really study there work closely, take my pen out and just write.. There’s just always something new to learn and improve every time and always so many things to work on but in a very positive and encouraging way and I’m thankful for my nerd buddies last weekend at History Con for bearing with me  . The thing about calligraphy is that it just speaks directly to my soul.. it’s able to awaken something in me that I believe has always been there and will always be there no matter how busy and complicated life may be.. . As much as I’m thankful for the music.. the same gratefulness extends to calligraphy. As much as I am certain that I’m called to my medical profession.. that certainty extends to calligraphy as well. Calligraphy and medicine taught me a lot in life and connected me to many beautiful people whom i also consider my friends that I couldn’t have possibly met if it weren’t for them.. I believe that He has placed that same love and passion in me and that the best way for me to express my gratitude is to give it my best and pay it forward  . Looking forward to more years of learning and unlearning.. trial and error z& growing and sharing. Thank you, calligraphy.. thank you, Lord. #happyworldcalligraphyday to everyone! | Lined Black Padlet @ 3mm x-height, Slanted Ivory Pad @ 5mm x-height | Isidro Yagnus Oblique by @thecuriousartisan | Dr Ph Martin White, Walnut Ink @paperandinkarts | Gillot 303 @johnnealbookseller | #calligraphy #EngrossersScript #Roundhand #pointedpen #intelligentpractice #IAMPETH #sharewhatyouknow #penmanship #calligraphyPh

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Be patient

Nobody learns calligraphy overnight, and no one can create works of art the first time they try. It might take months before you’re happy with your work or are brave enough to show them off to other people.

But learn to celebrate the small victories along the way – a nice page or a smooth transition between strokes is one step closer to the journal of your dreams.

When I was away for a conference last week.. I’ve been studying and trying out some italics (in between the boring times) So many helpful resources out there but the ones I had that time were Shiela Waters & Julian Waters’ @waterslettering pages in the latest edition on Speedball Textbook (24th Ed) and Patrick Leung’s @patrick.grafik Italic worksheets. Albeit the texts about it was not extensive (which is a given).. it was able to highlight the needed basics to get me going Thank you very much, teachers of the art for sharing your knowledge and expertise  The visuals and fine tuned instructions were very helpful to me and prodded me to observe the nib manipulation and the turns. The head info and knowledge is there, the practical/application side of it I’m still working on I keep on missing the turns but I’m just digging italics very much  . I haven’t had the time to write down my thoughts about it yet, believe me I will.. this calligraphy theme is just way too practical and beautiful to miss out! . Sharing some of the pages I was able to work on last  I’m very eager to hear your recommendations for more resources about this and advices as well on how to study and practice it more effectively. I know I need Tita Ellie’s (Eleanor Winters) book on Italics and I’m already very excited to attend her class this September  Excited to meet my classmates! . I’m all for learning.. my glass is empty  . | P.S. Hello, teacher @misterkams.. sorry for not being able to practice what you shared with last last year.. I’m making up for it now  | #calligraphy #italics #broadnib #learningneverstops #calligraphyPh

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Mayuko Yamamoto


Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.