The response to my FB posts about my Bible Journaling has been such a blessing and so encouraging! Lots of love and also a few repeated questions… so I promised that this morning I would share a little of my Bible Journaling basics with you and the supplies I use… so here we are.
Many of you already know that I’ve been creatively expressing and sharing my love for God and His Word through my art and hand-lettering for a very long time… through books, wall art, and products… so when I discovered Bible Art Journaling you can just imagine how my heart leapt! I was so excited that God had led me to yet another way to creatively engage with Him and His Word as well as being another avenue to share Him and His Word to encourage others!
Choosing My Bible…
I’ve been reading and studying from the same NIV Bible for over 30 years… WOW… so you can just imagine what it looks like… well-worn to the point of literally falling apart! So when I discovered this new Bible designed with wide side margins for journaling I knew it was time to lay aside the old for something new.
After doing my homework, I chose the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible published by Crossway. I already own lots of study Bibles in different translations and versions… but my go-to Bible has always been my NIV with no study aids at all. Sadly I couldn’t find a journaling Bible I liked in my version of choice but I’m getting used to and loving the ESV now… so all is well! (UPDATE: I now own an NIV Journaling Bible but still haven’t created any art in it!)
Choosing My Verse…
The whole idea of Bible Journaling is to spend time with God in His Word so inspiration to choose a particular verse can come from any place where you’re hearing His heart and allowing it to speak to your soul. Your inspiration could be as random as hearing a song during church or on the radio and connecting with the words that you lead you to look up a particular verse. Inspiration might come during your Bible study time, while reading a devotional or hearing a sermon. Or it might be as delightful as being in the shower and having God bring a verse to your mind that He hid there years ago.
When my new Journaling Bible arrived… I had just started a reading plan through the book of Luke. I decided to read two pages at a time and only create art on the right hand page… mostly because even though the ink did not bleed through I was still distracted by the shadow it left on the backside of the left hand page.
As I read I pray and ask God to speak to my heart and the one verse that stands out above all others is the one I choose to design and hand-letter. And to be honest… the greatest challenge is usually narrowing it down to one verse!! But the joy of doing it this way for me is being able to meditate and reflect on this one verse… even memorizing it… as I move through the process from sketch to finished color.
My Creative Process…
After I choose my verse… comes the fun. I sometimes sketch directly in my Bible but I enjoy the process of creating so I usually play with ideas in my sketchbook before I transfer them, either freehand or by tracing, into my Bible. I find this time of playing very freeing because I’m not thinking about “what if I mess up?” It also gives me more time thinking about the verse… allowing it to settle into my heart, memorizing it, and allowing it to feed my soul.
I love creating with imagery related to the verse such as fruit for the fruit of the Spirit or the girl with her hands uplifted in worship. Hearts are another great visual example and they show up a lot in scripture and in my art! But sometimes the greater blessing and challenge for me is designing with the words themselves. Reading a verse multiple times, putting the emphasis on a different word each time is a great way to visualize which words I want to create larger or with a bolder font or place within a frame or banner for more impact.
Finding Your Style…
There are as many different styles of Bible art journaling as there are women and personalities… and so it should be! If you are new to Bible journaling or thinking about it… just stay true to yourself! Be inspired by others but always do what makes your own heart sing! I hope mine will inspire you but don’t feel like you have to look like me. I was so impressed and inspired by the beautiful and super fun scrapbook style journaling I had seen online but I knew that wasn’t my style. Wanting to stay true to who I am and how God created and gifted me, I chose to stay in the margin and keep it simple. But if you love scrapbooking… and want to paint over the entire page I say go for it! I might try it some day myself!
Mine… at least for now… is all about hand-lettering and design. That’s who I am. That’s how God has wired me… it’s what I love to do… and it makes my heart happy.
Bottom line… it’s not about the style you choose… but it’s about using your journaling as an instrument of worship… time spent reflecting on and responding to God’s love for you and your love for Him… allowing His Word to soak into your soul during your Bible journaling moments. First and foremost it’s between you and your Lord. Amen.
Choosing Your Supplies…
So regarding tools… I’m pretty simple really. I start with a normal #2 pencil, Kneaded Eraser, and of course… those cute little handy dandy close up glasses I can’t live without these days. If you’re not familiar with a kneaded eraser… it’s soft and pliable and can be formed into shapes that allow you to erase fine lines and small space. It’s also fun to play with… you just keep kneading it like bread and it envelops your graphite into itself… keeping it clean as you go along. I like it for Bible Journaling because the pages are fragile and this eraser is gentle but effective.
As I shared earlier… I generally do a light sketch first… either directly on the page or in my gridded sketchbook and then on the Bible page. I look for key words and divisions in the verse that allow me to break it up into pieces… which is also beneficial when you’re meditating on a verse as well. I then play with ways to highlight them with banners or borders, etc.
Once I like the layout… I use my Micron Pens to ink over my sketch… starting with the 005… and then erase the pencil lines and begin to add the fun details with the larger point microns. I also use a white Gel Pen to add highlights and whiten up certain words to make them pop.
Then it’s all about the color. Even though I’m excited about trying watercolors and markers in the future… I’m just having way to much fun with colored pencils right now. So my favorite colored pencils are Prismacolors because they are soft, the colors are clear and rich, and they layer and blend beautifully.
This is my favorite color palette at the moment. Aren’t they gorgeous? And perfect for layering colors until I get the effect I’m loving.
TIP: One thing I have discovered is that I can tend to press a little too hard with the colored pencils thus leaving indentations on the page below so I’ve started slipping a piece of cardstock in between the pages at this stage.
I might add a little more white gel pen as a finishing touch… and ta-da… I have my finished design and more importantly… I have had some wonderful time delighting in the Lord and in His Word.
The Bible Journaling Blessing…
Psalm 1 tells us that if we want to live a blessed life… we need to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night. Bible Journaling is a wonderfully creative way to enter into God’s presence, to worship Him through delighting in His Word and being transformed through it’s power as we meditate on His truth.
Love you and bless you… in the Name of Jesus!