I scrolled through my Pinterest search results for Bible journaling, each image bringing discouragement and intimidation. There is NO WAY I can draw like that!!! There is so much detail in those hands. The colors are blended perfectly. The lines are straight. I was tempted to shut my journaling Bible and give up. But I didn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t! I figured out how to journal my way – a way that honors my heart for God. And I think that’s the key here, right? Not perfection (we are all a work in progress, after all, right?). But what brings me closer to God. I thought I’d share a few of my Bible Journaling Tips for the Not-So-Artistic Artists.
While in university for my teaching degree, I had to take a special art class for teachers – how to teach art. Part of the requirement was to keep a sketchbook AND to create specific pieces of art using various tools. Many of us found this task overwhelming. We weren’t talented artists like some of our peers were. However, before we could voice our
complaints concerns, our professor told us something I’ll never forget. She said, “You are all artists. You can all draw. I’ll teach you how.” And she did. She did teach a little bit of technique, but mostly, she encouraged us to find our own art ‘voice’. She saw us all as artists. And, slowly, throughout the year, we started to see ourselves as artists, too.
You Are An Artist
So, let’s just leave the idea of not being able to draw right at the door to Bible journaling, ok? You are able to draw – it might take a bit of work and a few YouTube videos, but you can draw! Drawing mini lessons are available online in video format. You can also search for step-by-step instructions that are not in video format if you prefer to see it on paper. It doesn’t have to perfect. It just has to be yours.
I know, sometimes we just need a bit more help. So, here are some tips and ideas.
Trace When You Can
I trace a lot of my lettering and pictures. For my letters, I just type out what I want in a Word document, make it the correct size, and then print. I cut the paper to fit under my page and I trace away. Some fonts allow you to outline the letters before printing. See below:
In Word, I typed out my wording, highlighted it and made it the size I desired. Then, under the ‘home’ tab, I clicked the tiny square under ‘font’ (my font below is already outlined – yours will not be yet).
Then I clicked ‘outline’ in my effects. Clicking ‘OK’ will set your highlighted text to outline.
For other pictures, I simple google searched what I wanted and clicked ‘images’. Another option is using coloring books and other print materials for tracing.
Margin strips are great for tracing or for simply gluing into your page after coloring. I find the latter to be beneficial because Bible pages are generally very thin – if they were the same thickness of regular books, Bibles would be CRAZY huge! Often unless I am coloring lightly with pencil crayons, I can see my artwork from the other side of the page. And sometimes, I will use a marker that ends up bleeding through. Instead of getting upset about this, I just paste in a margin strip. These can be purchased in various places online.
Or, you can easily make your own. Simply find the dimensions of your Bible’s margins and create your strips! Canva is great for such an activity – and it’s free. I just made this strip using Canva because some ink from the opposite page got on to this margin.
Using Canva is so easy and I used the colors, fonts and graphics from the site to create my margin strip. When you go to Canva, click ‘use custom dimensions’ in the upper right corner. The measurement defaults to pixels, so be sure to change it to inches so you get the correct measurement.
Using Drawing Pencils
I like using my graphite pencils for making grayscale pictures. I use my blender to create shade. It may look hard, but it really is simple – and you can’t really mess it up – if you do, get your eraser out;) I’ll show you how to use the pencils.
First, you need to get the pencils that have a varying softness of graphite. The hard pencil just has ‘B’ on it. Then it goes up in number as the lead gets softer.
If you need a pencil set, Amazon has several sets. This one has all the soft pencils I have pictured as well as harder pencils.
Our regular pencils have an HB graphite – right in the middle.
I use a regular pencil to trace or sketch a basic outline of my object (1). I take my B pencil and go over the outline freehand (2). The 2B pencil is first used for the shading. I shade about half of the object very lightly.
I keep going with my shading, using the next pencil. Each time is a bit darker and a smaller portion of the object. So, the lightest sketching takes up most of the shading. You can already see the difference it makes after shadig a bit!
Don’t forget to color in the opposite side – for example, I colored in the other side of the lip of the jar (7). It is very small. I also shaded a tiny bit on the other side of the jar itself. The blending pencil is used to blend all of the pencil shading together. Press lightly as the soft graphite blends quite easily. You can always go a tiny bit harder if necessary after the first time (8). And then you have the finished product!!
Now try it yourself. If you want, print out a circle shape and practice shading to make it look like a sphere.
Odds and Ends
What else do I use in my Bible journaling??? I use sticker letters like the red ones in photo A. I also used some black, glittery washi tape. For the page in photo B, I used a tiny tag and wrote ‘no fear’ on both sides. I traced the letter and used stickers. Photo C is a large heart offset on the page. I traced the doodles and I used pencil crayon to lightly color and shade.
Example D shows how I drew a scroll across the top of both pages and I drew a mug with steaming coffee. Image E shows a castle fortress – I used my drawing pencils for this! F shows some chalk used for shading the bottom portion. I used perspective to draw the stream – it narrows as it flows away.
Photo G shows how I used a chipboard letter to make the L in Lord stand out. I also glued some ribbon at the bottom. I used stick on gems in photo H. I also liked the font for ‘LIFE’ but I know I wouldn’t be able to trace it. So, I just printed it out on my computer (in purple) and glued it in. For the page in photo I, I drew the sword in, but the scroll I liked was just too intricate for me to trace or draw. So I colored it, cut it out and pasted it over the sword.
I thik image J is one of my favorites. I stole the idea from Pinterest and drew the clothes freehand by lightly sketching first. They are pretty simple shapes, so go ahead and try it. Image K is a bunch of words in various fonts – the top word is ‘justified’ – kind of looks like scribbles, though, hey? The image depicts the truth of God pouring His love into out hearts. Finally, photo L has simple colors – mostly brown. I used my drawing pencils here again on the lamp and the candle. I traced the lamp post and the candle;)
WHEW! That was a lot of photos! I hope they have inspired you. Just remember – you journal and express what God puts on your heart the way only you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
To hep you get started, I am pleased and honored to offer you a special sale price on my friend, Sara’s, (The Holy Mess) brand new Bible journaling resource kit. She has provided a great place to begin Bible journaling with great traceables! There are also Bible margin strips (can be used for bookmarks, too). She included quotes & doodles for you to use in your Bible. Need some practice with your freehand calligraphy – she’s got you covered with practice pages. There is a reading plan on the theme of trusting God and daily journal pages that double as Bible study notes. The Bible verse coloring cards are great to post around the house…or do what I did and make a card for a friend (see photo to the right). I have cardstock on hand already. I glued some scrapbook paper to the front and then glued the colored card onto the scrapbook paper (chalk was used to shade). I added some washi tape and a tiny strip of contrast paper to the bottom. And DONE! And so much better than store-bought – seriously, cards here in Canada can run up to $7-10 each!
My Bonus Goodie
For anyone who purchases a kit through my special link (yes, it is an affiliate link) will receive a printable of my Bible Journaling Challenge packed with 30 ideas to help you journal. Some examples are:
- Use glitter
- Use any type of embellishment you wish
- Try something you don’t think you can do
Be sure to forward me your receipt of purchase so I can send to you! Otherwise, I don’t know who you are;)
Please share below how these ideas have encouraged you in your Bible journaling or add your own journaling tip!
If you liked this post, you might enjoy some Bible journaling posts of mine.
How To Create A Simple Prayer Journal – includes HUGE subscriber freebie of a prayer journal!
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