Bible Journaling: my new obsession

Lately I have been really inspired by artist, Stephanie Ackerman.

Her colors are bright and the images are simple.



The artwork seems like they could be something that I could do too.

I’m also drawn to her lettering. I’ve always been a doodler. In high school and college, I think I had more doodles than notes on my pages. Hmm…I wonder if that could have been a factor in my grades.

When I went to Stephanie’s blog, Homegrown Hospitality, I saw that she did this very radical thing called bible journaling. I had never heard of such a thing! Drawing, stamping and painting in your bible? Wha-what?!? 

So I did a little more Pinterest research and found this whole new world! Some are incredible artists, like this one above at DKdesigns Studio.

And this chick, Diana Downing, who not only can draw more than a stick person, colors OVER the words of the bible.

OK. This ain’t going to be happening in the pages of my book. This is intimidating. Beautiful, but intimidating. Jann is a fine artist. She’s probably had a class or two. 

Not everyone has been given that fine artistic talent. But I think we all can be creative. Here is an example that Shanna Noel shows on her website Illustrated Faith, of using stickers. Everyone can peel and stick. It’s a great way to start. There are beautiful alphabet, floral, wing ding stickers out there. You may say that your handwriting is horrible. I think that’s ok! It is yours. Embrace it!

Again going back to Stephanie, I really felt the desire to do this. I could have just illustrated the verses that spoke to me in a journal, but I was afraid I was going to lose the connection.

I gathered my supplies. I went to Christian Supply and bought a Journaling Bible. I’m sure you can find them cheaper at Amazon or Christian Books.com, but I’m impatient.

What is a journaling bible? It is exactly like any old bible, but with wide margins. I like this. 

I bought a set of Bible Hi-Gliders, thinking they would be kind of like markers that I could color with. Nope. They are a silky, crayon like pen that you would use to highlight passages. Unfortunately, I already had a set of those in my Majestic-Highlighter. Oh well. 

I rummaged around and found the color pencils Mary Claire used during her high school years 8 years ago. I sharpened each and every one of them. I lurrrve freshly sharpened pencils in many pretty colors! 

I went to the craft store and bought the cheapest watercolor set I could find. Bonus: this set is of the pearly colors. Love! The plastic brush on top is a watercolor pen. The shaft is filled with water, so you could take this with you and create on the go. Ya just neva know when the mood will strike you.

Of course I had to sew a little bag to hold my pencils, micron pens and erasers. (Btw, this was my first zippered bag I’ve ever made! Not bad.)

And I bought some clear gesso. Gesso is a medium you put on the surface of the work to prepare it for paint. I had read that it helped the paint and ink from seeping through the thin paper. A little later I’ll let you know how I feel about this.

This was my first attempt. This was before gesso and thinking I could use the Bible High Gliders to color. Ok. And maybe,  just maybe, I was a wee bit chicken to actually draw on an actual scripture page, so I went with the introduction chapter. I guess it wasn’t all for naught. I was able to practice my lettering and get the heebie geebies out.

Here are a few of my first attempts. My arrow from the verse looks more like a snake.

No paint, just colored pencils. Baby steps. black outline is a bit strong. As the Laotian art teacher I once had said when looking at my acrylic painting, “Ah how you say…Hurt my eyes. Hurt my eyes.” So there you have it. In his own limited English, I didn’t know how to shade or blend my colors. Maybe I could work on that.

I like lettering much better than drawing figures or things.

Not sure if I actually expressed what I was thinking, but hopefully when I see it again I will be reminded who I need to be connected to.

So this is my first attempt at using gesso and water color. Some things I learned…1. Don’t write in pencil, even it is very light, before the gesso. Ding Dong.

See? Geez, my impatience strikes again. Gesso first! Then lightly pencil in your idea. Some journalers swear by gesso. This particular brand leaves the page grainy, as if I’ve poured sand on it. Is this bad? I don’t know. I did like how the colored pencils came out strong. 

Oh yeah. And Number 2. I think it would help if I had actually let the gesso DRY before painting and such. Oh my goodness! I am so impatient! (Hmmm…seems to be an ongoing theme here.)

So there you have it…the beginning of my bible art journaling. (Do you notice how brave I was with painting over the scripture ever so lightly? Yup. Brave I am.)

Anyhoo…some may think this is just wasteful or silly. Maybe. But for me to spend thirty minutes or so drawing, doodling, painting, coloring and really thinking about Gods Word…it is refreshing and good. When I open this bible, these passages are going to pop out to me. 

You may be thinking that you like this idea but could never do it because you aren’t creative. Believe it or not…you ARE creative! You just may not have opened that side of yourself or had the opportunity to explore your creative side. Start small and simple. A big old pink eraser is your friend. Let go. Don’t go for perfection. Just let the mistakes happen. They happen is real life, they can happen on paper too. Remember that no one else is going to see it. This is for your eyes only. Bible Art journaling is a creative way to spend time in Gods Word. I’d love to see some of your pages!

Thanks for dropping by!



4 thoughts on “Bible Journaling: my new obsession

  1. #1. Thought the frist few photos were of your work! 🙂
    #2. You are showcasing the talent God gave you beautifully!
    #3. Crayola Pencils!? Cheap watercolors?! I sense some birthday gifts brewing in my mind…
    #4. You’re right, what others may see as a waste of time can be very therapeudic. As you ar “doodling” – it’s all about God – How could that be a waste?
    #5. When is Bible Study/Journal Craft Camp? I think you could be the next Beth Moore of Bible Journaling Camp/Retreats….

  2. Had never seen this done before. What a great way to meditate on a passage as you do your beautiful and meaningful journaling.

  3. Pingback: Everyone is Creative | Merry Mary

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