It is true that you should use watercolors on high quality paper for painting and creating artworks, however this doesn’t mean you can’t use them in your bullet journal to color simple doodles and sketches. All you need is extra attention and care.
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How much water you can use
The first thing you need to check is how much water your notebook paper can take. In general, if the paper is ink proof, there is a low probability of bleed through. If you do not know the characteristic of your paper, you can do an easy test.
Wet a clean brush and make a stroke on the paper. If the paper becomes a little transparent or little dark spots start appearing, your paper is not capable of holding that amount of water.
You can wet your brush and tap it on a tissue to eliminate some water and then try again to see if this time the paper holds. When there are no dark spots on the paper, that is how much water your bullet journal can take.
If it’s still a negative answer, you may want to consider using watercolor pencils instead. You can color with them and make multiple layers without problems. Then when you have finished you will need only a tiny amount of water to dissolve the pigment.
No need to pass your wet brush multiple times on the same spot and risk breaking the paper and the watercolor effect will still be there.
If your paper can hold a decent amount of water, you can go ahead with the watercolors and make multiple layers too. I recommend letting one layer dry (you can use a blow drier to speed up) before making a second one because thin paper (low weight) tend to wrinkle when you use a lot of water at once.
For the same reason, wet on wet techniques are hard to use in the bullet journal.
Even with the appropriate attention, the paper may still get wrinkly. However, if it is not too buckled you can easily solve the problem. While the paper is still a little damp (but make sure the color will not transfer) put above of it a tissue and then some heavy books.
Make sure it is well pressed and leave it like this for about 2 hours (until the notebook paper is dry). Now, the paper should be pretty flat.
Let’s talk about supplies now. You obviously do not need expensive watercolors if you are going to use them only on your bullet journal. I own both a set of cheap watercolors and a student grade set.
Honestly, I did not notice the difference when I used them on my notebook.
If you like making the line art before coloring, you will need a waterproof fineliner. Otherwise, the line will get smudged. However, if you have already finished coloring and everything is dry, you can use whatever fineliner you want without problems.
Keep in mind that if you want to make artworks that are more professional, consider using a sketchbook instead of a notebook as a bullet journal.