If you follow me on Instagram you know that I love Bible journaling. I repeatedly get asked about it, but I actually don’t know that I have ever written or shared about it. Why? Because y’all, I am not an artist! That is just not my gift or platform, but I absolutely love it.
Let me just say again…I am not an artist! I only took the bare minimum when it came to art in school. But God introduced me to Lisa over at CreativLEI.com. We became friends and she taught me how to letter. She actually has a free 30 day lettering course on her website. And thanks to her, I learned how to get fancy with my letters. I learned Calligraphy and how to be more creative with my writing style.
My love of lettering and lettering scripture morphed into Bible journaling.
And that’s when my friend Jonnie stepped in and taught me how to Bible journal. I love how God brings people into your life to teach you new skills! I would have never thought I had the confidence to do this. I started off very simply, but as my skills improved and my love for it increased, and so did my Bible journaling supply collection. My goal is to have one Bible journal completed per child by the time they move out.
Why would you color over scripture?!
This the most common objection I get about Bible journaling. I get asked this question more than anything else! Here’s my easy answer: this is not my study Bible – this is my journaling Bible. I use this Bible as an artistic outlet. It is not the study Bible I use for daily reading and prayer. And no, I can’t always read the scripture underneath my artwork. But the purpose of this Bible is to serve as a gift, a work of art, a sort of love letter that I will share with my kids someday.
I bought this really simple black bible – Crossway ESV Single Column Journaling Bible and it has already taken a beating, y’all! Next time, I might try an ESV Interleaved Bible that has more blank pages for journaling. I really like the ESV translation. And sometimes I think I would like to journal on the side and not cover up any scripture. But the only negative with the interleaved Bible – all that blank space! It might be too overwhelming. I like the option of not having to artistically create on every page.
How did I learn to Bible Journal?
Honestly…Pinterest. And of course my friend Jonnie. I don’t creatively think up things on my own. I have always said I’m not a creative person. And that hasn’t necessarily changed. It still doesn’t come naturally to me to come up with my own ideas to journal. But I have learned to really enjoy the creative process of Bible journaling. For the most part, I’m not very original. I see what others do and put my spin on it. Sometimes I copy exactly what someone drew on Pinterest but printing it out and tracing their work into my Bible. I’ve journaled a lot in my Bible thanks to good old tracing technique! Sometimes I get inspired by something I saw and customize the art to make it my own. I’m a busy mom and I work a lot.
Bible Journaling is not more work – it’s a hobby and a fun outlet for me.
I have a Bible Journaling Cart that I can just roll around the house. Sitting on top is My Bible Journaling Tote and if I need to go anywhere, I just pick it up and carry it with me! My Bible Journaling Tote is actually a Craftsman Tool Caddy. It is the perfect container for all my tools and supplies. I’ve got colored pens, micron pen used to underline scripture, calligraphy pens, gel pens, paint brushes, highlighters, date stamp, colored pencils, markers, paint, water colors, different papers I use sometimes. It’s really amazing – and y’all believe me when I say that it has pockets for everything! And most Sundays, I Bible journal at my mother-in-laws’s house, so I just pick it up and take it with me.
When I first started Bible Journaling, I just jumped around and pretty much journaled wherever I felt like it.
I’d pick my favorite verses, one we read at Church that Sunday, or something I saw on Instagram or Pinterest that I wanted to try. But then I changed my mind on that approach. I decided I wanted a little more order to my Bible journaling. So I started back at the beginning and I’m work my way through – from Genesis to Revelation. I am almost all the way done with Deuteronomy!
Before I sit down to do some journaling, I will go to Pinterest and search for Deuteronomy Bible Journaling (or whatever book of the Bible I am on). I will scroll and explore until sometimes catches my eye and I think, “Hey, I can do that!” Then, I will start to sketch it into my Bible in pencil – or print out the picture to trace, if I don’t think I can free-hand it. And ALWAYS lightly draw or trace everything in Ticonderoga pencil first.
There is no shame in the tracing game, y’all!
After I pencil in my artwork or lettering, I apply a very thin coat of clear Gesso with a foam brush to the whole page. Keep in mind Bible pages are thin. Your inks and colors can very easily bleed to the other side. The Gesso makes the page thicker and sealed which guarantees that colors or paints aren’t going to bleed through. It takes like 5-10 minutes for the Gesso to dry and then the page is primed, prepped, and ready for color! Also make sure you do the entire page, not just a portion, so that the page dries evenly without wrinkles or ripples in the paper. You can see the shadowing of the inks and colors but there is absolutely no bleeding through to the page behind it.
One of the most important things to remember: always prep your page before you add color or ink.
For my colors, I use a couple different products but my absolute favorite is Caran d’Ache Classic Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels, 40 Colors. My favorite technique is to color in everything with my pastels, then go back with a very lightly wet brush and paint over it. The finished product looks exactly like watercolors! I absolutely love the look of watercolor without all the skill it traditionally requires.
The supplies I use most often are:
- Gesso – Never use white Gesso, you only want to purchase the clear for this.
- Ticonderoga pencils – Is there any other kind of pencil? 😉
- Tombow Fudenosuke pens – These are my favorite lettering pens by far. I love these so much that I always keep an extra set (both soft tip and hard tip) in my tote.
- Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels (crayons) – I use this every single time I Bible journal. They are easy to work with and produce such beautiful colors!
- Library Date Stamper – Whenever I complete a page, I date it. I found this one super cheap on Amazon.
- Washi Tape – I use this occasionally, but not super often. (See below!)
- Vellum Paper – Draw, trace, paint on this paper and then use Washi tape to affix it into the Bible. This is a great option for anyone who is nervous about drawing directly on your Bible.
- Stencils – I do occasionally use stencils as well. Sometimes I feel like it looks weird, but I love the look of stencil banners.
The other pens and pencils I use are:
- Prismacolor pencils – I don’t use colored pencils every time I journal because I prefer the look of the pastels. But this brand is the best and these are the only colored pencils I use.
- Sakura Gelly Roll pens – I love that these leave a sparkly, metallic effect behind. They definitely require a page to be prepped before you use them or else they will bleed! They come in metallics, pastels, bold, and all sorts of cool colors.
- Pigma Micron pens – Buy a set that include a variety of different size tips. These are my favorite for underlining scripture.
- Kuretake Brush pens – I absolutely love these brush pens, especially the metallic ones!
I know for some of y’all, this lengthy list of supplies might be overwhelming. But you do not need all of these to start out. Trust me. I didn’t start out with all of these tools and supplies! My collection of supplies has grown because so has my passion for Bible journaling.
Bible Journaling has been a really good creative outlet for me. But what I love most is that I am creating a gift that I will pass on to my children. I’m not a super emotional lovey-dovey type of person, but this is truly a love letter to them. With this gift, I am hoping to show them how much I love them. And that for their entire lives, I have been praying over them.
Do y’all have any more Bible journaling questions or tips you’d like to add? If you do, please comment below!