How to get started Bible journaling - This post explains how and why you should start Bible journaling and what materials you need. I've always been curious about it, and this was the perfect primer to get started!
I have seen friends' journaling Bibles and thought they were so neat. I loved how they emphasized key verses, and I loved the artistic quality of the journaling. I initially thought, "I could never do that because I am not artistic!" and I left it at that.
The more Bible journals I saw, the more intrigued I became. Finally, I was there as a girlfriend showed all her tools and tricks to another lady. I decided to take the plunge knowing that I am not artistic, but I am creative, and I would do the best I could with the helps Beth had.
I bought a few supplies from Amazon and waited impatiently for them to arrive. Once I made the decision, I couldn't wait to get started!
Here is my very first attempt, and it was good enough. After that, though, I dived into some more involved techniques and tips, and I got sucked in!
So how do you DO it? It's easy.
How to Start Bible Journaling
Here's my process:
- Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom. I pray the prayer from Jen Hatmaker's awesome book called A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study which I initially borrowed from the library and then bought because it is so helpful and amazing. I journaled the prayer into one of the opening pages of my journaling Bible:
- Select a verse. I have been going down through my list of 50 Bible Verses that All Christians Should Memorize, because those are seminal verses in my opinion. When I finish them, I will use a verse from my current Bible study or devotional. (I got an advanced copy of Pressing Pause by my friend Ruth Schwenk at The Better Mom, and I am loving it! There are lots of great verses in there that will make awesome journal entries.)
- Create a drawing in pencil on scrap paper. The first step for me is to fold a piece of plain white scrap paper in thirds. I can use each third for one journal entry, which saves a lot of paper. Plus, each third is roughly the same size and shape as my journaling Bible margins. So that's good. I sketch out the whole thing starting with the letters and fonts. If I was going to draw something, I would sketch that out, too, but like I said above, I'm not much of an artist and I generally use my stamps or stencils for that kind of thing.
It is really nice to have a rough draft because then you don't have to do so much erasing in your actual Bible.
- Transfer the pencil drawing to the Bible. You could probably put the pencil drawing underneath the page of the Bible and sort of trace it, but I just eyeball where things should go based on my initial sketch.
- Ink the drawing. Once you have your pencil all done, go back over it with one of your pens. Let the pens dry for a minute or two (it happens pretty fast, but I have had smears especially when erasing).
- Erase the pencil marks.
- Color in the drawing with colored pencils.
- Go back and add any finishing touches, usually with colored pencils or pens.
That's all there is to it. It's really simple to do.
Simple, but not quick. I usually spend about an hour on one drawing, so I don't get one finished every day.
Bible Journaling Tools
Here's what I got at first, combining the recommendations of several friends:
- A journaling Bible - There are so many of these that I will do a separate post on them. But I started with one that has slightly thicker than normal pages, a single column of text, and a very wide margin. It is the HCSB Notetaking Bible. If I was a more patient, I might have waited for this beautiful version of the same Bible, but I just. couldn't. wait.
- A good-quality mechanical pencil with a big eraser - You will use both the pencil and the eraser a lot, so it is important to have both. I also got a separate 3-pack of erasers, but that's not absolutely necessary.
- Artist-quality colored pencils - At the recommendation of another friend, I splurged on a set of Prismacolor Premiere colored pencils. They are very soft, which means they don't hold a point all that well, but they color beautifully. My designs are so much nicer because of the quality of the colored pencils. I am super happy with them. I got mine on a random super saver deal from Amazon, which made them under $30. If the price is an issue for you, you could certainly get a smaller set and still do beautiful drawings.
- A set of pens - If you're going to do word art as I have done, you will have to have a set of high quality pens in a variety of sizes. I like the Micron brand from Sakura because they hold up well over time. We've been using them for our Zentangles for years, and they have not shown any signs of wear and tear. I bought a new set for my Bible journaling box, so that I wouldn't have to scrounge around for the set the kids use for Zentangle.
I have collected, at this point, a lot more supplies, but the above is all you really need to get started.
If you're like me and need some artistic aids, come back next week for the next part of my supply list - stencils.
In the weeks ahead, I will also share the stamps and ink I've been using and my set of advanced supplies that are hopefully being delivered by Amazon today!
I have dived into Bible journaling with both feet. I love to do it. It is calm and peaceful, and I look forward to it all day long. Once you get started, I think you will find the same thing!