01 November 2022
Tombow Talks to: Louise Chai
When did you decide to dedicate all your time to bullet journaling?
I was always the kid in school that did all of my homework on patterned paper and used different markers to colour-code my work. After finishing university, I found myself on a new schedule and I wasn’t drawing as much as I’d like to so I turned to bullet journaling as a way to keep up my creative stamina and to organise my daily tasks. Though I have evolved and changed the way I approach my bullet journal, I have never stopped bullet journaling since then! It was only after some encouragement that I took the decision to share my own bullet journal online and look where we are now!
What inspires you?
Anything and everything inspires me! Something as simple as textures and nature can be a great source of inspiration to me. I also love exploring new destinations and experiences because they expose me to new ideas and influence how I view things.
What’s your suggestion for someone that wants to start a bullet journal?
Your bullet journal should work for you - not the other way around! There’s no right or wrong way to use a bullet journal so don’t put any pressure on yourself to make it look a certain way or to include pages that you wouldn’t use. Start simple and find your own style and method of working from there!
What are 3 fundamental tools for bu-journaling?
A dotted notebook (with good paper!), Tombow Fudenosuke Brush pen in black and Tombow ABT Dual Brush pen in your fave colour!
How did you start your career?
I have always had a creative background and bullet journaling made sense to me as a hobby alongside my 9-5. As I got more interest and work from my bullet journal, I was able to make the transition over! It’s daunting to me because I feel like a tiny fish in a big pond but I think I’m still relatively early in my career so I’m excited to see what I can make of it!
What is your favourite layout to create?
I love creating weekly pages because there’s a little more structure needed and certain elements to include. I think it’s my favourite to create because I love the challenge of making a traditionally mundane page like a weekly planner into something beautiful and exciting to look at. Function AND form!
What are your future plans and ambitions?
I would love to branch out and create something outside of the online space. I like the idea of creating something more tangible, maybe writing an activity book or hosting a workshop? Though I really do want to lay my foundations and do my due diligence before pursuing bigger things! There’s so many talented creatives out there so I would like to carve out my own niche and work from there!
What does a typical day in the life of doodlelou look like?
Everyday is a little different and not as interesting as you’d think! My first activity of the day is always to walk my dog, Milo, at our local park - it gives me a chance to start my brain up and get some fresh air. My mornings are slow spent replying to emails, working on admin tasks and writing my to-do list for the day. I prefer using the afternoon to work on bigger projects and creative tasks and I like to break up the time by taking photos and videos of my personal bullet journal. The last part of my working day is always spent updating my bullet journal and making sure I’m prepared for tomorrow!
Which one is the most challenging project you have worked on so far?
Earlier this year, I filmed an online course on bullet journaling with Domestika which was very personally challenging. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an introvert through and through and I let my work speak for me which is why this was such a huge task for me. There was a lot of work involved and the whole process took about 5 months but being front and centre with a camera and crew was VERY out of my comfort zone. It was ultimately a very enjoyable experience and I’m happy I did it but definitely not something that I was used to!
What do you like about your job?
My favourite thing has to be creativity and freedom! I am a person who finds bursts of creativity just before I’m about to fall asleep or when I’m in the middle of a long walk so I love that I can work on my own schedule and take creative control of the things I create!
Soft or hard tip?
Both! If I HAD to choose, probably a hard tip.
Favourite thing to draw?
Patterns and plants!
If you could have dinner with three artists (past or present) who would they be?
Kengo Kuma, Ai WeiWei and Banksy
Favourite Gallery or Museum?
The Design Museum in London
What podcast should we be listening to right now?
I’m really enjoying ‘Off Menu’ with Ed Gamble and James Acaster at the moment. Very easy and light-hearted!
Piece of design you wished you had created?
Hong Kong (technically a city?)
Best advice you have ever been given?
If it doesn’t matter in 5 years time, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it now.