Bible journaling is cool. If you like Jesus and art (and who of you doesn’t?), then you’ll probably find Bible journaling on your list of next hobbies to learn.
But let’s be honest, some of what people draw is intimidating. I was encouraging a new Bible journaler the other day on Facebook about her work, which was good, and I said “You may not be Da Vinci but you are an artist!” and literally the next post was someone’s gorgeous rendition of the “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo.
I get it, some people are extraordinarily talented at illustrating. But guess what, you probably do something flawlessly they wish they could do. Einstein couldn’t tie his own shoes; it is a give and take.
HOWEVER, there are many tools that can help you learn to Bible journal like a pro and I’m here to share them with you! Now, you don’t have to feel like an awkward turtle when you get started on your journey. (below are affiliate links, it is how my babies eat)
Pro Tip Number 1: Get a Journaling Bible.
Do you have to get a Journaling Bible to do Bible journaling? No. If you want to do it like a pro? Yes.
The Bibles below are the three versions that Move the Mountains website offers. They are ESV (English Standard Version) and they all have 2-inch margins on every page.
Pro Tip Number 2: Choose a medium.
While you wait for your journaling Bible from Move the Mountains to arrive (you care about supporting those little Schenkenberger boys, right?), you should choose a medium to get started in. Now, I’m going to warn you: art supplies are pricey. If you want to try to do them all in your journaling Bible, I highly suggest you space out your purchases.
Beside choosing a cover for your journaling Bible, this will be the next hardest choice you make. So, here is a list of options and if you want to keep your total investment UNDER $100, then choose handlettering and one other medium:
- handlettering only
Handlettering: Handlettering is a must for Bible journaling. It is the only must craft-wise. So, to begin your journey, you need some Micron pens. This compliments well with any medium you choose, and I highly suggest these Micron pens!
These pens are made with archival ink, which is a fancy word for “fade-resistant”. They are super high quality and you’ll instantly fall in love with them!
If you go to a place like Michael’s and buy them individually, get BLACK and three sizes: 01, 03, 05.
If you need a guide for handlettering, there is no shame in that (I took a whole class), this book is great: Creative Lettering and Beyond.
Or you could just follow some tutorials on Pinterest, but if you are going to refer to them again and again, getting a book may be the best idea.
Scrapbooking: If you don’t feel capable of drawing or painting, scrapbooking is way cool. Even if you are a minor scrapbooker, you probably have most of the supplies you need, but it is a good idea to make sure you have the basics:
- washi tape like this
- faith stickers (these are the best)
- alphabet stamps like this
- scrapbook paper like this
- glue dots like this
Watercolor: My favorite medium is watercolor because I can use it over scripture and I am still able to read it. Call me old fashioned but I think that we shouldn’t cover up the Word of God for the sake of “expression”. You need those words, those words give you life and they are your defense against the enemy! It would be like me giving you the best multivitamin in the world and you opening the capsule to draw something in the powdery contents.
Acrylics: This choice can bring such vibrancy to a page, it is amazing. Acrylics can be used at full force or watered down for a softer look, but either way, this option can transform Bible journaling. I love how they can save the brushstroke look!
If you have never used acrylics, don’t be afraid! Click here for a short albeit dry instructional video that will just give you the basics of acrylics!
Side note: using acrylics will cover up scripture.
Pencils: Pencils and I have never been friends… because pencil drawings can be very unforgiving. Even with a nice set from Prismacolor, my art never turns out satisfactory. However, if you are concerned that you have no idea what do to with a paint brush, pencils are a great choice!
Prismacolor offers the best/affordable sets you can find, click here to view their 12 pack.
My favorite thing about using pencils as your medium is that you can use them to create a “glow” or a “halo effect” in your drawings.
If you feel so clueless that you can’t decide which option is the best for you, take a class! Visit Paper Source (the staff is SO helpful)! Go to the library and check out some books on beginning your creative journey!
Pro Tip Number 3: Gesso or not.
3 days ago I had never heard of this product, it is likely that you have not heard of it either. It is a magical substance that helps to protect your Bible journaling pages from bleeding (ink/paint leaking to the other side of the page) and some shadowing (the image darkens the other side of the page without bleeding).
However, though it protects your pages, it takes a long time to dry (unless you buy a special dryer). If you are starting with a mindset of thriftiness, gesso and its dryer are unnecessary.
If you are using any of the products I’ve suggested in their proper fashion, then you won’t have any bleeding but it is likely they will have some shadow that you can see from the other side of the page and watercolor will likely crinkle.
If this is a must for your list though, click here to get some GESSO.
Pro Tip Number 4: Practice!
I’m slightly a perfectionist and I want my journaling Bible to look beautiful, so I practice. I have an art journal that I doodle in and start ideas in, then when I have a great idea, I go for it.
Sometimes, if I’m REALLY excited, I just wing it and that can turn out amazingly… or gross. For myself, it is hit and miss, but for a beginner, it is best to practice your idea before reaching for your Bible.
What am I suppose to practice, you ask? Go to MTM’s Pinterest board for Bible Journaling by clicking here and pick something you want to copy. Print or screen save it and then meticulously copy it.
Becoming an artist is like becoming an athlete, you have to practice for muscle memory. Your hands need to be trained how to execute artistic pieces, so breath and take it slow, YOU ARE LEARNING.
Pro Tip Number 5: Plan.
Planning is very important when you want to do your own pieces, otherwise you might get stuff like this. 😦 Ick, right? It looks like a funky, yellow blob and maybe a purple person on it? Poor Matthew 1. To avoid this, use a pencil to plan your drawing in your Bible, you can even do a sketch before on a separate piece of paper as a guideline.
Despite your best efforts to plan, your brilliant idea may not pan out. That is ok! You are growing in the art of journaling and you need to give yourself grace.
When in doubt, call the Holy Spirit out.
He knows. He knows where you want the lines to go, He knows what will look beautiful (just look at the universe He helped to create), He knows if you need a break. He knows. Invite Him to join you, after all, spending time with God is what this is all about!
If you have all that you think you need to start Bible journaling like a pro except where to start: begin by choosing your favorite verse and use one of the examples from our Pinterest board (click here) as an outline and commit to finishing the page.
It might take you 30 minutes, it might take you 3 weeks, but that is ok. Take a lesson from Nike and just do it!
That is it for our Pro Tips! If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!