Bible Journaling on a Crayola Budget

Crayola Budget

If you think that you would enjoy Bible journaling but are worried that it will not fit into your budget, don’t worry about costs. Journaling is a creative process and when it comes to budgeting for it, we can get creative.

For me journaling is more about the process than the final results, so using simple supplies was not much of an issue.

The biggest initial expense in Bible Journaling is buying a “Journaling Bible.” These are special Bibles that have a wider margin and thicker paper than traditional Bibles. If you are like me and are living on a shoestring budget, even the $25 Bible seems like a big amount. In this case, you can read the passages from any Bible (or online if you do not own a Bible), then journal in any journal or notebook that you already own. My first week of journaling was done on plain copy paper and my son’s art paper.

There are no required tools for journaling. You can simply use your Bible, journal, and a pen or pencil. However, most people want to create a more colorful page. I started out by using tools that I already had around the house. I used regular pens instead of the nice archival pens. I used five of my son’s crayons as highlighters. I also had a box of Crayola colored pencils and an off brand children’s watercolor set.

I did have a little bit of supply envy after getting on Pinterest and reading blogs by others that do Bible journaling. So, I started a wish list and asked for supplies as Christmas and birthday presents. As I received these products, I noticed that my pages looked a little nicer. However, they were not necessary to build the relationship with God that I get through Bible journaling. For reference, the top image on this page was done with the Champs art supplies. The bottom image was done with the supplies listed in my last post.

Crayola Budget2

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Bible Journaling: Tools of the Trade Part 2

Tools of the Trade2

Last week, I talked about my journaling Bible and the tools I use as I am reading. This week, I want to focus on the tools I use for illustrating my journaling Bible.

Pencil.

You can use whatever pencil fits your style best. I use a regular No. 2 wooden pencil. I love Ticonderoga Pencils. They are fairly inexpensive, have a great eraser, and don’t seem to break as much as traditional pencils. If you go with a wooden pencil, make sure to have a pencil sharpener in your arsenal of supplies. Mechanical pencils are great for smaller detail and you don’t have to worry about sharpening them.

There are a variety of artist pencils on the market and the difference is in the lead. The amount of smudging a pencil does will be based on hardness and how dark a pencil marks is based on blackness. No. 2 pencils fall in the middle of the hardness and blackness scales, so you can adjust accordingly.

Eraser.

My husband (The Coach) picks on me for being an eraser snob. I have only used White Pearl Erasers since high school. They don’t leave any smudge marks and are inexpensive.

Pencil Sharpener.

This is an area where I am not picky. I just use the simple pencil sharpener that came with my son’s Ticonderoga pencils. I know that some of you out there will prefer an electric pencil sharpener, but I prefer all of my tools be portable.

Colored Pencils.

Crayola is the way to go here. I prefer Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils because they are pretty and you do not have to sharpen them. I started out with the traditional Crayola colored pencils. They worked fine until Swayze realized he loved the taste of wood. He has not even attempted to eat my Twistables (yet).

Pens.

I started my Bible Journaling journey with my favorite pen straight out of my pencil cup. It was a Uni-Ball Vision Pen and it glided over paper like butter and was fairly inexpensive. The ink was beautiful and dark and really made the colors on my page stand out. I was journaling on my son’s drawing paper, not in a Bible, so I did not really care about bleeding through.

Once I moved to my Bible, I switched to a pen from my bank. It worked fine for a few days. The ink was not bleeding through. The color was still standing out and the pen was free. However, I got tired of seeing the indentions on the next page from where I was writing. I was able to solve this problem some by placing a piece of cardstock between the pages while I worked; however, pressing down still showed up on the backside of the page.

I quickly went out  to the craft store and bought Micron Ink Pens. These are an archival ink, which means they are going to be rich in color, be less likely to bleed through, and not fade away. They come in different tip sizes. I started out with an 01, 03, and 05 which range from 0.25mm through 0.45mm. Just as a frame of reference, most mechanical pencils have a tip of 0.5mm or 0.7mm. I love the fine tip because it really allows me to draw in fine detail. These pens come in bigger sizes and a smaller size as well. So far, I have discovered that I like my 005, 01, and 02 the most. I don’t like using the bigger sizes because I can see the shadow from where I have written on the back side of the page. These also come in a multicolored pack.

For the perfectionist, you may want to try Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Pens. I do not have any personal experience with these; however, they have piqued my interest. They write like a ball point pen, come in a variety of colors and are erasable.

Watercolors.

I started off using a set of dollar tree watercolors from the kid’s craft section. I was reluctant to buy a set of Sakura Watercolors, but I was gifted a set at Christmas. They are in fact amazing. The colors are vibrant and I have a lot more options to choose from. My only complaint was the waterbrush that was included. It screws on counterclockwise, and I broke it by overtightening when I intended to open it. I simply use a regular paintbrush with the kit now, but you can purchase replacement waterbrushes if you need to.

Come back next week for a look at “Tips and Techniques for Non Artists.”

*Please, note that I get a small percentage of sales from the Amazon links above. However, I use all of these products myself (except where clearly noted) and I am personally recommending them to my readers.

Bible Journaling: Tools of the Trade Part 1

Tools of the Trade1

The world of Bible journaling can be quite confusing because there are so many options out there. Today, I am discussing the type of Bible I use and the tools I use when reading. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to journal as long as you are spending meaningful time with the Lord.

Bible.

Pick a Bible translation that speaks best to you. I prefer the Holman Christian Standard Bible. It is the version my pastor uses and it is claimed to be faithful to the original Hebrew and Greek while also remaining readable. At the time I purchased my Bible, there was only one Holman available and it was expensive so I settled on the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible.

After you settle on a translation, you will have a variety of sizes, styles and colors. I chose a single column journaling bible with a plain black cover. I prefer the single column format because it is easy to read and my illustrations are next to the text they are referencing. I also picked out my Bible based on size. I wanted something small enough to toss in a diaper bag.

Bible Commentary.

I find a good Bible commentary to be helpful with reading my Bible. When I get to a passage I don’t understand, I enjoy reading more about it. Usually, there is some kind of historical or cultural significance that I did not pick up on. Commentaries are also great for linking passages back to other passages. You can use online commentaries or books, but be selective in choosing one. The Bible is God-breathed and authoritative. Commentaries are human written and therefore can actually contradict the Bible. When reading through scripture, always pray for wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit. Also, remember that the Bible was written for everyone, not just those that have been through seminary school. I use The Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary.

Highlighters.

Last week, I mentioned that I do a lot of highlighting in my Bible. Ordinary highlighters will bleed through your pages. However, several people use them with no problem. I would definitely test out any pen, paint or highlighter in your Bible before using them. You can use one of the reference pages at the front or back of your Bible as a test page.

When I first started Bible Journaling, I used Crayola crayons. They worked to keep me engaged in my reading; however, they had a bit of grittiness to them.

ACCU-Gel Highlighters are my highlighter of choice. I like a Bible highlighter that works more like crayon because it will not bleed through the page. These are very vibrant. The colors do not rub off, but they will leave a waxy feeling to your page for a day or so (this goes away quickly).

I have seen the Zebra Eco Zebrite Highlighters recommended, but I have not used these.

Storage.

Depending on where you plan on doing your Bible Journaling, you will need a way to store all of your tools. If you will always be journaling at the same desk and don’t need your tools to be portable, you can always use a pencil caddy and desk organizer for your supplies.

Otherwise, you will probably use some sort of bag for everything. Any bag will do for storage. Even a gallon size Ziploc bag works just fine. It is clear, so you can see everything at once and it is a very inexpensive option. Some people like to get a makeup case. Most of these have elastic holders designed for makeup brushes that allow you to keep your favorite pens organized easily. I personally use a zipper pouch from 31 Gifts.

Next week, I will discuss my favorite tools for illustrating the margins of my Bible.

*Please note, I get a small percentage of sales from the Amazon links above (except where noted). However, these are all products that I use myself and am personally recommending for my readers.

 

Bible Journaling: My Routine

Routine1

Last week I discussed WHY I enjoy Bible journaling. The next several weeks I will be discussing HOW I go about Bible journaling. It is important to remember that our main goal should be to grow closer to God through meaningful worship. That means that my routine may not be the best routine for you. Use it as a jumping off point and add to it or take out anything you need to.

Pray.

First and foremost, Bible journaling is a form of prayer and worship for me. I like to begin by asking the Holy Spirit to lead me and to instruct me as I am reading God’s Word. An example of this is as follows:

Lord,

Open my heart and mind as I read your word (Psalm 119:18). Give me the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of you (Ephesians 1:17).  Help me to understand your instruction (Luke 24:45).

Amen

Read.

Before you can illustrate your Bible, you have to read it! I usually prefer reading one or two chapters at a time. Some people find reading one section at a time more manageable. Remember that QUALITY reading is more important than QUANTITY reading. We are attempting to KNOW our Lord more fully, not check off a Bible reading plan.

While reading, I keep a Bible dictionary and commentary nearby to answer any questions that may arise while reading.

Highlight.

I usually read with six highlighters. I have a category for each and I like to highlight my entire Bible as I am reading. This may seem like an excessive amount of highlightiting, but it serves two purposes: (1) I have ADHD, so by categorizing each verse, I am staying engaged while reading. (2) If I skip a chapter, I will be able to quickly come back to it because it is not highlighted.

My categories are as follows:

  • Pink- Warnings, Things Not to Do
  • Green- Commandments, Things to Do
  • Purple- God, Jesus, Holy Spirit
  • Blue-Promises, Blessings, Prophesy
  • Orange-Genealogy
  • Yellow- Anything else that “jumps out”

When I highlight, I do not try to overanalyze which color to use. There are several instances when Jesus is speaking (Purple) a promise (Blue) on the condition that we believe in him (Green). In that scenario, I will simply pick one of those colors to use. There are other scenarios where I do not know what category to use, so I simply highlight in yellow. Typically, I see yellow as a sign that I need to pull out a commentary to figure out what that passage is saying.

Reflect.

What does the passage mean? How does this apply to me?

Sketch.

At this point I begin actually “journaling.” I like to turn on music at this point and use the time to further reflect on the passage and worship.

I begin the artistic process by sketching my complete design in pencil. Sometimes I will look online for “how to draw” tutorials if I do not know how to draw a particular element. I also like to look up lettering examples on Pinterest for my verses.

Color.

After I sketch in pencil, I trace the outline in an archival pen. Then I use my colored pencils to fill in the drawing. This is perhaps the most relaxing element of Bible journaling for me.

Paint.

If I am going to apply paint, I do it last. I use a watercolor paint that does well going around and over my pens and colored pencils.

Pray.

At the end of my journaling session, I like to close with a prayer in response to what I read. I like to give thanks for any revelations that may have come to me and ask for help applying what I have learned. My prayer may be as simple as:

Lord,

Let these words dwell within me (Colossians 3:16). I want to not only hear your word, but to be a doer of the word (James 1:22).

Amen

This is a simple outline of my typical journaling process. Some days, I only do part of my routine at a time (especially now with two boys); however, I do try to always begin and end in prayer.

Stay tuned next week for my favorite products for Bible journaling.

Routine2

Why I Love Bible Journaling

 

What I Love About Journaling

When I first heard about Bible journaling I was a skeptic. Should we be doodling in our Bibles? Why would someone do that? Once I started journaling, I began to love it. So, what do I love about journaling?

The process of creating brings me closer to the creator. The time I spend Bible journaling is time I am spending in communion with the Lord. My hands are kept busy while my mind is freed up to focus only on Him.

Painting, drawing and coloring are all calming activities. Adult coloring books are very popular at the moment. You cannot walk into a hobby shop or bookstore without seeing several copies. People are discovering that these activities help to reduce anxiety.

I am more focused on my reading when I use a highlighter system. I am more engaged when I read with a highlighter in hand. I am also more engaged when I am trying to figure out what verse conveys the main message of the passage. Next week I will explain more on my highlighter system.

Focusing on a smaller portion of scripture helps it sink in more. When I repeat a verse several times, I tend to remember it better. When I am illustrating a verse, I repeat it to myself as I am sketching, coloring, and painting. This allows the words to sink into my heart.

Pictures jog my memory. I can go back and look at my illustrations and get a quick overview of my past studies. Sometimes I will pick a book of the Bible that I have completed and simply look at all of the illustrations. It helps me get the big picture of each book quickly. I can also find scripture quickly when I remember how I illustrated it.

It is a fun way to share the Gospel. When you pull out a Bible full of artwork and doodles, you are going to get comments and questions. This is the perfect opportunity to engage in discussions with strangers in waiting rooms, unbelieving friends and family members, and even your children. Anything that allows me to share my faith is exciting.

In the following weeks, I will be discussing my Bible journaling process, the tools I use, and even tips and techniques for non-artists like myself.

Please, share pictures of your journaling Bible. I cannot get enough of this beautiful form of worship.