The Archer & Olive Watercolor Dot Grid Notebook Review

The Archer & Olive Watercolor Dot Grid Notebook Review

Hello Planning Mashers!

Looking for a perfect notebook to use watercolor on? The Archer and Olive watercolor dot grid journal might be the right notebook for you!

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Using watercolor in a journal has always been in my to-try list, but it’s just so difficult to find a journal that can handle watercolors, so I usually end up not using them at all.

Then Archer and Olive notebooks came to the market and honestly, they’ve been a game-changer! Be sure to check my complete Archer and Olive Dot Grid Journal Review, but in short – watercolor became an option I wasn’t afraid of anymore.

There are still, however, some things that are just done better on watercolor paper and there is always a better option. The better option, in this case, is an Archer and Olive watercolor journal.

Today, we’ll look into all the details of the journal, do all the watercolor tests and see how good this notebook actually is.

There is a video review also available at the end of the post, so you can also give that a look.

Moreover, if you’re like me on the beginner side, I’ll share with you some great resources to learn watercolor and implement it on your Bullet Journal pages.

If you ever decide to buy the watercolor notebook, be sure to use my code MASHA10 to get 10% off your order.

General Characteristics

The first thing you notice about the notebook is, of course, the amazing cover designs! There are three different designs available, which you can check on Archer and Olive website.

The notebook is actually also spiral bound. It’s not just a cute design choice, it actually allows the pages to lie completely flat. This is really important when you work with watercolor because that way, you have complete control on where and how your colors move on the paper.

The journal is A5 size, which is the most popular journal size for Bullet Journaling. 

It has 120 pages, which is slightly less than the usual 160 pages signature Archer and Olive notebooks. This probably won’t be enough for the whole year, but honestly, I never had a journal last me for a whole year anyway.

The journal also has all the other characteristics of a Bullet Journal notebook. 

A very elegant elastic band keeps the pages together, so you never have to worry about your pages being damaged if you carry your journal with you.

A back pocket has plenty of space for any of your usual planning supplies – tabs, sticky notes, stickers and such.

Finally, there is a sturdy pen holder that’ll always make sure you have your favorite pen with you, ready to start working on your pages.

The Paper

The most important part of the notebook is, of course, the paper, especially if we’re talking about notebooks for watercolor. And this one doesn’t disappoint at all.

First of all – this paper has a dot grid. It’s really not something that you see on any other watercolor sketchbooks, and it makes this journal perfect for more than just creating art, but also for Bullet Journaling.

The grid is pretty subtle so you can easily create art on top, without worrying that it’ll be distracting. At the same time, having a grid will help guide you when you’re writing or decorating your pages. So it’s a win-win.

The paper itself is 200 GSM and it’s absolutely stunning how much water it can absorb without getting damaged even a little bit.

I bombarded this journal with water on water techniques that left all the other journals damaged, but his one withstood it all like a champ! Just give a look to my review video and you’ll see what these pages had to go through.

But as a result – there was no ghosting, no bleeding and the pages still lay flat as if nothing ever happened.

One final detail – the paper is, of course, pure white, like in all Archer and Olive notebooks. So you’ll be able to enjoy all the bright beautiful colors in all their full glory.

Eco Friendly

This notebook isn’t just amazing by itself, but it also comes with a lot of care about the environment – it’s vegan. The paper is 100% cotton.

It’s always nice to know that the company you’re working with cares about the environment and allows us to make environmentally smart decisions when shopping for the next Bullet Journal notebook.

My Thoughts

I love the notebook and the possibilities it gave me, such as finally exploring the world of watercolor without being afraid of causing damage.

I also love the notebook design and attention to every detail. Bonnie, the wonderful mind and person behind Archer and Olive, really cares about each one of us getting the best notebook possible, and it really shows.

I’m also so happy to be supporting a woman-owned brand, especially one that stands for such important issues as ecological friendliness, mental health awareness and support of the artist community by valuing their art and paying for their work.

I’m happy to mention here that I’m actually on Archer and Olive’s writers’ team and you can check out some of my posts on their blog.


There is just one thing that kind of puts this notebook at a disadvantage – the spiral binding. Yes I know I said it looks amazing and it’s really useful for watercolor – all this is true.

However, with a spiral bind, you’ll never be able to create a two-page unified spread since there will always be a pretty significant gap between the two pages.

But, on the other hand, if you’re afraid of having problems with the spiral when you write – rest assured it’s not a problem at all. The journal is pretty thick so when you open it the spiral kind of flattens out.


I also promised you a video review, so here it is! If you want to see this notebook in action – give it a look.

Watercolor Supplies

Since you’ll probably want to try watercolor in your new watercolor journal, I thought it’d be pretty useful to share with you some of the best supplies to get started with.

Prang Watercolor

A wonderful set to get you started, it’s very affordable and has all you need to learn the basics of watercolor. 

However, it’s pretty limited and you won’t be able to get some elaborate shading and blending techniques.

Winsor & Newton Travel Palette 

This palette gives very decent colors, especially for the price. Moreover, it also comes in travel-friendly packaging.


Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Sketchers’ Pocket Box, Half Pans, 14-Pieces

  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours are a range of water colours that are made to our high quality standards but costs are kept to an economical level by replacing some of the more costly pigments with less expensive alternatives
  • Cotman Water Colours possess good transparency, excellent tinting strength and good working properties
  • This popular pocket-sized plastic box features an integral mixing palette in the lid

Prima Marketing Watercolor Palette

These watercolors come in many different paletted and you definitely can choose one best fitting your style.

The small tin box is also great for traveling

Karin Brushmarker Pro

These are on the expensive side, but if you have a set of these – they are perfect for watercoloring!

You can see me using them in the video at the end of the post. It’s simple and you get some fantastic colors from these. 

Just add a color from the marker to a mixing board and pick it up with your water brush.

Pentel Aquash Water Brushes

Having a water brush can be amazing, it allows you to stop using the little jars of water all over your table. Plus it’s a great option for traveling.

This set has three brushes that will cover all your watercolor needs, from drawing to lettering.


The final thing you can use in your watercolors is a water-resistant fineliner pen. These are perfect to add some design and turn blobs of color into a beautiful drawing.

Below are some of my favorites from the collection I have:

Pump Your Watercolor Skills

Do you want to improve your watercolor skills or maybe learn them from zero? Well, here are some resources that’ll help you achieve new heights with your watercolor skills.

You can take any of these classes absolutely free if you sign up with my link and get 2 weeks FREE access to Skillshare premium and thousands of classes.

Skillshare is a learning platform that has thousands of classes and not just on watercolor. Check my post on How To Bring Your Bullet Journal To The Next Level to see more creative classes that can rock your BuJo.

If you follow my link, you can get 2 weeks FREE premium membership with access to ALL of their classes.

So, here are the watercolor classes to get you started!

Watercolor: 10 Easy Projects Anyone Can Paint

This is the first watercolor class I ever took and believe me – anyone can create these projects.

They are very simple so you can create them even without any previous watercolor skills and the result will be pretty enough to motivate you to keep trying.

Anyone Can Watercolor: The Basics for Creating Magical Pieces

Want to learn the watercolor basics? This is a great place for you to start. This class covers everything from supplies to some basic techniques.

Easy Doodling & Painting Fun! Create Gorgeous Botanical & Floral Illustrations in Watercolor & Ink

This wonderful class will teach you some fun watercolor techniques. By the end of this 33 minute class, you’ll be able to create the most beautiful watercolor flowers in your journal.

Fun & Loose Watercolor Florals, Leaves, & Butterflies

Yes I know I have plenty of floral classes in this list already, but creating flowers with watercolor is just the prettiest!

Modern Watercolor Florals: 3 Ways

Ok, I promise this is the last one! But this 50-minute class will teach you to bring your watercolor florals to a whole new level.

Watercolor Magic: The Basics of Color Mixing and Color Harmony

Yasmina is probably my favorite watercolor teacher and this class is truly a must have on your watercolor journey.

Watercolor Lettering

One more fun thing you can do with your watercolors is lettering, and this class will help you master this skill.

Peggy Dean is a great teacher and in this case, she goes through tools, basic strokes, and different color mixing techniques – all you need to create beautiful lettering pieces.

So, are you ready to start creating watercolor spreads in your Bullet Journal? Have you ever used watercolor in your BuJo?

Share with us your experiences in the comments!

If you’ll decide to invest in a watercolor notebook, be sure to use my code MASHA10 to get 10% off your order.

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And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling and Don’t Be a Blob!