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I know that taking notes in your Bible can be a little intimidating, let alone drawing, lettering, and painting in it! That's why I'm setting up this post about how to get started if you're new. Let's get to it.
Many of you know (if only from the name of this blog) that I'm a big Bible nerd. One of my favorite ways to engage with the Bible is through Bible journaling – a creative process of making art in your Bible as a way to connect with scripture and with God. I've written in the past about my favorite tools and supplies for Bible journaling, and about how I use transparent sheets in my journaling Bible. You may also know about my Bible journaling site, Seasons Illustrated! But today, I'd like to share a little about how to start Bible journaling for beginners!
What Bible Journaling is All About
Alright, guys, let's get one thing clear: Bible journaling is not about making the most beautiful art. I, myself, am guilty of wanting to make something really beautiful and impressive for the sake of, well… making something really beautiful and impressive. But that's is not the right attitude – not in Bible journaling and not in life. Bible journaling isn't about the outcome, it's about the process. Focus on connecting with scripture and your belief, and the skill will come with time.
Having the Right Tools
All you need to Bible journal is, you guessed it, a Bible and a pen. If you want to expand a little bit, you can try colored pencils, watercolor pencils, paints, stickers, washi tapes, and more. But to start out, all you need is the Bible and a pen. Here are some of my recommendations.
Which Journaling Bible I Use
I use the Black ESV Single Column Journaling Bible by Crossway. I like that the pages are cream-colored, with lots of margin room that comes faintly lined. Here is an example blank spread, with some “ghosting” (when pens or highlighters show through the page a little) shown on the left side.
Which Pens to Use for Bible Journaling
My favorite pens to use in my Bible are the Sakura Pigma Micron 01 Ink Pen Set, and my favorite highlighters are the Zebra Eco Zebrite Double-Ended Highlighters, Fine Point. To learn more about my recommendations and why I chose them, you can check out my favorite supplies for Bible journaling here.
Other Artistic Supplies to Use for Bible Journaling
I also use a few other supplies when I journal. My favorite paints, by far, are these Artist's Loft Watercolors, which are perfectly pigmented and don't mess with the flow of the paper too much (especially if you prep your page beforehand using a medium like Gesso, which is a glue-like substance that protects the page from creasing). My favorite way to get a watercolor effect without using too much water is to use watercolor pencils, specifically the Derwent Inktense pencils. These have a great consistency and a really rich color payoff that looks beautiful on the page.
“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6) This Bible journaling entry for Genesis 1 was inspired by a photo I found on Pinterest by Melissa Fischer. It is the first time I covered the words on the page (I use another Bible for study). I really like the result. For this page I used Faber-Castell Gelatos, watercolor paints, Pigma Microns, and white acrylic paint. PS: Have you heard? Seasons Illustrated is doing a new free 12-week study on women of the Bible, starting this Sunday! Link in the description!
A photo posted by Bible Journaling Devotionals (@seasonsillustrated) on
For really vibrant colors, I also sometimes use Faber-Castell Gelatos, which are like oil pastels that come in their own little protective tube. They're expensive, but the colors are so rich and beautiful! You can see an example of those below.
How to Find a Verse for Bible Journaling
Alright, so you have your Bible, your pen(s), and maybe some extras, like paints, stamps, or stickers. The next thing to do is find a verse.
Bible journaling can be a little scary, especially if you're not used to writing in your Bible before. For that reason, I recommend starting off with a verse that you know well and that means a lot to you. Starting with a verse that you are very familiar with helps take away some level of discomfort when it comes to journaling in your Bible for the first time, and it will help you come up with an idea faster. At the same time, if you choose your absolute favorite verse, it may be difficult to come up with a design that includes everything it means to you. For that reason, choose one you know well and like, but maybe not the verse you'd paint on your living room ceiling.
How to Get Inspired for Bible Journaling
I'm a creative soul, but I'm not an artistic soul. I find it difficult to come up with entirely new designs for things, especially for Bible verses that I may not be as familiar with as my absolute favorites. For that reason, I like to find inspiration – and with the internet, that's easier to do than ever.
One of the best places to find inspiration is Pinterest. There are tons of Bible journaling boards full of inspiration. Here's mine:
You can also join a Bible journaling group on Facebook. I have a group called Seasons Illustrated Bible Journaling that you are more than welcome to join. You can also do a Google search for “Bible journaling” and the verse you chose, to see designs that other people have done with that same verse! Finding inspiration in places like these is a great way to get started with Bible journaling and figure out your style and the kinds of art you'd like to try.
How to Start Bible Journaling
Alright, here comes the exciting part! Now that you have your tools and verse, and you're excited to get going, it's time to get started. Everyone has a different process for how they do this; you may want to pray first, or just begin; you may prefer to do some background research on the verse you're doing so that you can add detail (that's me – nerd alert!). In the end, what it comes down to is mustering up the courage to put pen to paper and make something that expresses how you feel. This is my process for the actual journaling process:
Reflect on the verse
Read it over a few times; maybe do a little background research. Let it sink into my bones. I think about the parts of the verse that mean something to me, and then I try to figure out how I can represent them in art.
Sketch it out with a pencil
I like to use a simple mechanical pencil to do my sketching so that I don't make any permanent mistakes!
Outline it with pen
I use my skinny Pigma Microns to do this, as they don't bleed through the paper.
Fill it in with color
Next, I use gel pens, colored pencils, and watercolor pencils to add color and dimension to my design!
When I got started with Bible journaling, following along with a reading plan or a Bible study was one of my favorite things to do. I loved learning while doing my own art devotional practice. Now that I'm a little farther along, I put out my own Bible journaling studies. Those studies come out for my Bible journaling site, Seasons Illustrated. You can check out our studies here!
I just love Bible journaling and I'm really excited to share it with you. Please comment below letting me know about your practice!