Halloween, All Saints and the Day of the Dead are almost upon us. The trees are shedding their leaves, the wind is picking up and the long, dark winter nights are drawing in. It’s the perfect time to snuggle into a blanket, curl up on the sofa, flip the lid off a black gel pen, pull out a pack of black pencils, turn the pages of your black notebook….and get gothic!
Before you settle down to watch the latest Netflix bingeable horror-inspired tv offering – we thought you’d appreciate seeing some spooky ways to fill your journal pages and learn what our favourite seasonal scary must-watch and must-listen to suggestions.
- MONTHLY SPREAD IDEAS:
Let’s be honest, if we’re talking all things gothic, there’s only one colour palette to focus on and that’s black and white. For that extra gothic feeling, nothing beats black notebook A5 with black notebook paper, although a black a5 journal / black planner, with white pages can also look dramatic. Here are a few favourite journal spreads which caught our eye and which you might like to have a go recreating.
This Nightmare Before Christmas themed layout is amazing; particularly cheeky Jack Skellington, who has been captured beautifully. It adds character to the pages, without taking over.
Picture credit: @blackandwhitebujo
We particularly like the more unusual horizontal diary layout chosen for this dark, dramatic theme.
Picture credit: @bulletjournalcollection
The level of fine detail needed to recreate these illustrations can be achieved using a fine black pen. We suggest either a Sakura black gelly roll or a Pigma Micron either the Pigma Micron PN or the Pigma finalisers.
- WEEKLY SPREADS INSPIRATION:
If you want to create a truly unnerving weekly spread, why not turn something that’s innocuous in everyday life – like a pumpkin – into an unnatural, creepy parody of itself. This amazing illustration does just that.
Picture credit: @hayleyremdeart
Australian artist, @shaynechan has created the perfect page design (below). The exquisite drawing at the bottom of the pages grabs your attention, yet it’s the tiny additional web details and writing style at the top that brings the whole weekly layout together, harmoniously.
Picture credit: @shaynechan
Although we aren’t brilliant at drawing, we’d love to bring our own weekly layout concepts to life and we have the right black pen and black colouring pencils to give it a good try!
- MOOD, HABIT & OTHER TRACKER CONCEPTS:
The right tracker can be really inspiring. We can’t decide whether this monstrous clown would make us want to record our mood each day…. or run screaming at the sight of it! Pennywise, eat your heart out. We think this version wins in the scare stakes. Get your black pens at the ready!
Picture credit: @createdbynerea
Here are some more cool tracker ideas. We really love how @metro_boulot_bujo has used the white space as the light from the spaceships. It creates such a bold contrast against the black setting, making that brilliant illustration even more powerful, and memorable. White gelly roll pens would be really useful for a design like this, as they work on the darkest of backgrounds.
This adorable mood ghosts layout does something similar. The expressive, pale spooky doodles really pop against their dark background.
Picture credit: @kitoremi
Our final gothic habit tracker pick is a little different. We love the simple layout and the ghostly spiderweb spreading across the whole page behind the actual tracker.
Picture credit: Diary of a Journal Planner
- DO-IT-YOURSELF DOODLES
We are always on the hunt for easy step-by-step doodle guides. Here are two gothic inspired ones which we think would help even the most artistically challenged – we count ourselves in this category! Drawing your own spooky doodles is now as easy as one, two, three…. DRAW…. we mean, BOO!
Photo Credit: Crazy Laura Doodles
Photo credit: @studydrug
Even if you aren’t the best artist in the world, it’s fun just to give it a go. And, if all else fails, do what we do: make a frame around the page using a spooky themed washi tape and then use a gellyroll pen to draw a border around that. It’s simple to do, yet looks good.
- GOTHIC-THEMED FILMS TO WATCH
Do you enjoy watch lists? We do and this layout, with its clear list and creepy illustrations, really caught our eye as an innovative way to create your dream gothic film playlist.
The question is, what’s on your list of gothic films and tv to watch? We know what would be included in ours and if you’re looking for a scare, here they are. Be warned, some are more terrifying than others!
Francis Ford Coppola’s visually sumptuous, sinister, romantic, bloodthirsty adaptation of Bram Stoker’s original vampire tale.
Johnny Depp and Christopher Walken are pitch perfect in this atmospheric Tim Burton re-telling of the classic headless horseman legend. On thing’s for certain, heads will roll!
The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, ramps up the tension to 11. Protagonists, Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, star in Daphne du Maurier’s psychological thriller of madness and jealousy.
A young heiress marries a mysterious British aristocrat and after moving into his creepy ancestral home, discovers some sinister, spooky secrets
Made in 1922, it might be silent, but our screams aren’t when watching Max Schreck play the original and possibly creepiest celluloid vampire ever. Who can forget that looming shadow, with its overly long, clawed hands, gazing down at his intended victim. *shivers*
Nicole Kidman stars in what is, quite frankly, the creepiest family drama we’ve ever seen. It might put you off having children forever!
Michael Keaton’s tour de force performance as the titular anti-hero in Tim Burton’s darkly funny and imaginative fantasy film, is what propels this film from good to brilliant.
- Pan’s Labyrinth
An absolute masterpiece of storytelling which mixes fantasy with horror, as a young girl discovers that her life is not what it seems during the Spanish Civil War. The Pale Man – you’ll know him when you see him – is the stuff of nightmares.
Stephen King’s grisly tale of a murderous clown is taken to new heights in this modern re-telling. If you didn’t like clowns before, you certainly won’t after watching this.
Who is responsible for the screams and scratching in the middle of the night and what is Mr Rochester’s dark secret? Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender are pitch perfect in this classic Victorian gothic tale.
An entire community of the undead is unearthed by Shaun, whose dead-end salesman focused life suddenly takes a macabre turn. This is a darkly funny Simon Pegg film.
Imagine being a vampire, trapped in a coffin prison for over 100 years and re-emerging into the very jaded 1960s. Eva Green and Johnny Depp are swoon worthy enemies in this entertaining Tim Burton flick.
If you can get your hands on a copy of this film, you’ll laugh at George Hamilton’s hammy Dracula, searching for love in 1970’s NYC. This is fun, kitsch and campy, with a kicking disco soundtrack.
A Mel Brooks film that’s laugh out loud funny. A parody of the original Frankenstein story. Watch and enjoy.
- GOTHIC MUSIC
Everyone has a party list, right? Make a note of your favourite tunes to chill on a playlist like this:
@thedanishjournal strikes just the right visual note between scary and bewitching.
Once you’ve decided your playing order, dim the lights, spark the candles and crank the music up.
Here are our pick of spooky tunes to get any Halloween party rocking:
- The Monster Mash – Bobby Pickett & the Crypt Kickers
The 1962 graveyard smash, that caught on in a flash. Definitely top of our pops.
Haunted – Beyonce
Our favourite Beyonce song – she has never sounded better. Haunting lyrics, tune and don’t get us started on the accompanying video. It’s all just perfect.
- I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
No one sings this evocative song like the incomparable Simone. WHAT a voice; it sends shivers down your spine for all the right reasons.
- Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Junior
You just know when this song comes on, you HAVE to get up and dance!
- Highway to Hell – AC/DC
Surely no playlist would be complete without this classic anthem. Written about a bust journey in Australia, that takes forever, it’s one of those tunes that demands you scream along to the chorus.
- Monster – Lady GAGA
A monster hit, a monster tune and a monster beat. Lady Gaga’s anthem is a dance floor must.
- "Get Ur Freak On" — Missy Elliot
Still sounds as good today as it did when it was released and the video rocks the creepy vibe perfectly.
- Season of the Witch – Donovan
Less about witches and more about psychedelic paranoia, this is a good old 60’s classic that had to be included in our list.
- Time Warp – Rocky Horror Picture Show
“It’s astounding; time is fleeting; madness takes its toll…..” And you can be sure to create party madness when you put this track on. A guaranteed party pick me up in every sense of the word!
- Every Breath you Take – The Police
This song is insane! What a beat, what a tune….and, if you really listen to the lyrics…. what a creepy theme!
That’s it for our gothic inspired recommendations. We’re sure that after all the planning, drawing, writing, watching films and dancing to music, you’ll need a rest. And that calls for a good, old fashioned bedtime story. We have just one recommendation. Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James is quite possibly the best spooky story anthology ever written. Don’t believe us? We dare you to read these short tales and not leave a few lights on overnight! Sleep well!