At the beginning of 2020, I decided to try a bullet journal to better organise the year. Having used it for a year, although I won’t use it for 2021, I wanted to share an accomplishment related to my highlights of 2020 and bullet journaling: designing my own bullet journal cover.
Design Your Bullet Journal Monthly Cover with Wildlife You Watch
My highlights in 2020 were all about nature and wildlife; designing each month’s cover on the bullet journal with wildlife sightings and natural experiences was the best way to record them. Every month, I noted new species I encountered in person or any interesting episode or experience about wildlife in the UK. Among them, the most memorable one became a topic for next month’s cover design. My families and friends loved this idea and with their support, I’m going to continue to do so for 2021 as well. 🙂
I couldn’t draw from scratch due to my limited art skills, but the photos I took or online images were helpful. While I will keep posting the wildlife journals, here are my top 12 wildlife episodes in 2020!
My January Cover… Hedgehog
The very first bullet journal cover was about the visit to the Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital on my birthday in 2019, seeing hedgehog patients. I had not seen a hedgehog in person (let alone ones in wild) before then, so the experience was undoubtedly special. To draw a hedgehog, I tried to mimic the illustration on my tin case which I got as a Christmas gift. Wrendale Designs is my favourite brand recently and considering it had been ages since my last drawing/painting, I was quite pleased with it.
The text above was based on the vet’s comment at the hospital about those hedgehogs. Despite being small from our view, with spikes, hedgehogs themselves might think differently, hence “I am big and strong”. The text below the drawing was lyrics of a k-pop song I was keen on, which I thought sounded fitting with the theme.
My February Cover… Fox
The February cover was an episode about a fox on the evening of the 7th of January. A tame fox came up close to the French door in the kitchen, probably sensing the spaghetti bolognese. It approached us even closer, as I had longer eye contact with the fox.
As much as I was satisfied with the drawing of the fox, I really liked the side decorations of spaghetti bolognese. 🙂
My March Cover… Birds
This cover for the bullet journal was all about birds, as I spotted various species of birds in February and the first week of March. Double-layered rainbows, a blackbird picking an earthworm up from the lawn, and blooming crocuses from where I lived. The others were from my sister’s graduation trip, which was the last proper trip of the year 2020; we saw a lot of red kites as we drove past South Oxfordshire. Starlings and a pied wagtail were encountered at Stonehenge, thus the text for ‘March’ with the right theme!
My April Cover… Bumblebee
The fourth design was an episode during the first lockdown, in Wales. We saved a bumblebee on the afternoon of the 22nd of March. We had to lift a stunned bumblebee and lay it on a shaded leaf, smudging a bit of honey on the leaf. For the drawing, I got help from Google Image and tried as well as I could to elaborate the bumblebee.
My May Cover… Rabbit & Squirrel
This cover design includes two sightings on different dates. One was, a rolling bunny captured on a camera trap, I think, between the 15th and 16th night of April. The other was a very acrobatic squirrel, busy eating new shoots on tree branches. I drew the rabbit too big to colour with the pens I had, which resulted in a rolling ‘Chewbacca’ bunny… The squirrel was also tricky for me, as I realised once more that I wasn’t the most skilled artist. Still, I loved my bluebells and both the animals also grew on me with time… sort of.
My June Cover… Pheasant
My bullet journal monthly cover design for June was a pheasant we came across on the 28th of May. During our after-supper stroll, I spotted this free-soul local pheasant on stone walls with pretty foxgloves. It had its rear end leaning tightly on the corner of the stones, which somehow was a great camouflage. When it finally caught my eye, ‘Uh?’ came out my words, which must have disturbed the pheasant too. Shortly, it hopped off the other side of the stone wall and trotted off.
My July Cover… Deer Family
This is another humble drawing after May’s rolling ‘Chubbaca’ bunny: a deer family we saw on the evening of 14th June. Everyone had told me there were a lot of deer, living in this area; it sounded like a fantasy to me, since I hadn’t come across any deer up until this point.
I was rather ambitious, attempting to draw the deer family by just looking at the photos I took. It’s not bad though if I just flick through the journal. :p
My August Cover… Moorhen Family
I drew a moorhen family of four as a monthly cover design for August. It was in the early morning of the 1st of July when I saw them. Half-awake, half-asleep, I heard a ‘peep, peep, beep’ noise just outside the window. Josh urged me to get up and look, and it was those cute moorhens by the stream.
My September Cover… Badger
Unlike the other cover drawings, the September one was actually about an episode in the same month, not in August. Though I had other candidates to draw which happened in August, they couldn’t beat the highlights in September. The ‘September’ text was our blackberry-picking day on the 16th of August, though. On the 15th of September at dusk, Josh and I saw a badger(‘s silhouette) through our binoculars.
My October Cover… Hedgehog
This is one of my favourites… The drawing for October was an epic sighting on 21 September (very early night of the 22nd to be precise). A wild and healthy hedgehog came up to a birdbath in the garden for a drink. Like how I drew the July cover, I also used the photo I took for this illustration. (And this time, it came out lovely!)
The sentences under ‘October’ were related to the previous design. The success of our first badger watching was so memorable that badger was about to become my favourite animal. That evening turned out even more special, as this hedgehog appeared before me too for the first time. It seemed as if this hog was trying to prove a point by saying “Sehee’s favourite is me, the hedgehog”.
Oh, and the 4 light-brown rounds at each corner were russet apples. I had planned to decorate the October text with russets but forgot and put acorns. haha… These russets were my first apple-picking experience on the 20th of September at a local PYO (Pick-Your-Own) apple farm.
My November Cover… Tom the Sheep
On the 1st of October, we were introduced to Tom, an acorn-eating sheep, during our walk. According to the farmer, Tom had a very dramatic birth story and for some reason, loves acorns a lot. I was a bit worried after I found that acorns (high in tannins) are not good for sheep, but fortunately, Tom seemed fine!
My December Cover to End 2020… Goldfinch & Robin
It wasn’t easy to draw a cover design for December, as wildlife activities reduced. Fortunately, though, I saw a new bird in November, on the 8th, goldfinches.
I couldn’t help but draw a robin on winter-themed designs, so one joined the goldfinch here on the cover. Both of them had many good image resources on Google, so I picked the podgiest and cutest ones to mimic.
Make Bullet Journal Monthly Cover Design a Mini Project
The trick of drawing ‘only’ 12 sightings during the year worked well as a novice illustrator. I had a lovely time working on this mini-project. I enjoyed jotting down all my sightings each month; picking the best of them to make cover designs; getting to see each wildlife in more depth as I tried to pick up their details before drawing; drawing them in my journal.
Seeing these bullet journal cover designs altogether, I feel grateful that my 2020 actually had a fair number of happy pieces. With this in mind, I’m also really excited about this year’s monthly wildlife cover drawings! I hope this collection has inspired you all wildlife lovers to try your own version of wildlife monthly cover designs!
P.S. Which cover design did you like the most? Comment below to let me know!