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January Plan with Me

It is time for the January Plan with Me! We are starting off the year with a beautiful theme based on new beginnings and butterflies.

To see the full process follow along with the video:

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I plotted out the shape for the moth by drawing a diagonal line, a heart for the bottom wings and then adding the larger wings over top. If you are worried about symmetry you can try holding it up to a mirror or looking at it upside down. I left a line of white negative space between each of these elements as I went over everything in a black brush pen to differentiate each segment. Besides leaving those lines you can color the rest of it in, all the details are added with a white gel pen.

I wanted to make the wings look intricate in an easy way. I started with one element at a time, drawing a part on the right and copying it onto the left so it was easy to replicate. With one little section at a time, you can just think small and simple - and they don't need to be perfectly symmetrical in shape or in design. With intricate designs like this the whole looks a lot nicer and more delicate than any of its parts so don't worry about overcomplicating your designs.

Once we add the title and cut out our dutch door we are all done! I think it looks so pretty and is a great symbol of the new year and a new beginning. I used a small nib fineliner to add my calendar in the bottom corner, all ready for a fresh start.

I am using the rest of the underpage for my month at a glance. I have to include some florals, so I started with a guide for where the florals should sit and what size they would be. I use circles to represent each flower so then its just a matter of filling it in; I used daisies, lavender, and some berries. Around my title I wanted to work in a little of my moon and stars for the month as well. I used the Molotow blackliner .02 nib to go over the illustration, the goldilocks of pens, it's not too small and not too large.

A little bit of line shading adds just enough contrast to make it pop. The page still has enough room underneath for a goals list and a to do list to fill out.

We are going to do a large calendar for the month of January. If you are getting into planning, having the space to write down your dates, appointments, etc., is a really nice element to have in your journal. I used a 5 by 5 square for my calendar grid and went over it all in my Molotow fineliner by pulling the pen towards me to keep relatively straight lines.

I wanted to add some color now so I started by creating my color palette with some browns, beiges, pinks, a little burgundy and gray. Having a thoughtful palette will really elevate your illustrations, even if it is only in your journal. I wanted to continue my moth and butterfly theme on the calendar page with a fun drawing. I started by sketching out some really messy, illustrative moths and butterflies in marker. You can work it out in pencil first but I worked out the shape of the wings by dragging the brush marker across the page for the outline and then filling it in.

Adding the fineliner afterwards polishes it up but it still has a very childish, fun, messy quality to it. You'll notice the details and pen lines sort of miss the marker a little - I wanted it to look very imperfect. Your illustrations don't need to be exact, they should be a little weird, or wrong, in order to be interesting. Try to have different shapes and sizes, angles, and color combinations for a very whimsical, free, organic look.

If you are adding designs to your butterflies and moths, keep it simple. Little triangles, lines, and dots, or heart shapes, look more detailed when it is all finished. I really like this layout, it's a little more playful than something I would normally do, but I love the color palette and the way it turned out.

On the next page I am creating a 'Brain Dump', a two page spread, where I can put all of my brainstorming, thoughts, and ideas. On the left I am creating a illustrative title. The top wings say brain dump and the lower wings are very simple designs. From there I wanted to create a very whimsical illustration around it with a mushroom, some leaves and berries, and one or two little flowers. It creates this title area that is simple yet fun to draw.

Once I was happy with the illustration I went over with my fineliner, added some line shading for contrast, and little details to the mushroom. In the video you can see I did the butterfly first with black lettering on negative space and then decided to change it to match the title page. I finished everything up with a hand-drawn border around the two pages to connect them, but left lots of room for writing down my thoughts.

Check out the video for one of my favorite weekly spreads. I used this one several times in 2020 and it is very versatile. Six boxes fill a two page spread with room above and below for illustrations. Since I don't have as much planned for weekends, and I like the symmetry of the six boxes, I have one box for the weekend. Once you've completed the boxes and layout with a title, a little calendar and another box for notes, you are good to go. The layout uses the space really well and leaves a little room to get creative. There is space for ripped paper, stickers, a quote or illustrations. Of course, I've filled mine with florals.

Check out the 2021 set up if you haven't already, and have fun getting ready for January and the new year!

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