April 1, 2016

Drawing in the Bible?

In case you haven't noticed, I post book reviews at the link in the above menu. This has been a hobby for some time that I really enjoy, as books are sort of important in Casa Hagerman. Today, on the book review blog, I shared about a new way I've found of making my time with the Lord come alive. Rather than make you click over there, I'll make it easy and post it right here. Have a great weekend, friends!

BOOK DESCRIPTION: The ESV Journaling Bible provides the perfect way for you to keep a journal of your spiritual life right inside the Bible that you read and study every day. With covers and formats that look like the finest journals, the Journaling Bible features two-inch ruled margins for writing observations, reflections, prayers, praises, and journal entries. This unique Bible makes a great gift and lasting keepsake for anyone who values God's Word.


  • Cream-colored paper
  • 2" ruled margins
  • Book introductions
  • Ribbon marker
  • Smyth-sewn binding

Wanting to enhance my Bible study time and find a creative outlet for expressing what I learn, I got a new Bible. This one has extra space along the outside of each page so that I can take notes or illustrate what I've gleaned from that page.  I did lots of research about the different types available and found that I wasn't the only person thinking along these lines.

There are one-column, two-column, blank pages between the scriptures, leather covers, hardbacks, and the list goes on. The Bibles come in NIV, ESV, NASB, KJV, and NKJV. You can even choose between blank margins, lined margins, and margins that already have some graphics included, which you color in and then add your own personal touches. So many choices!

Thankfully, artistic Bible journaling is pretty popular right now, so there were tons of places I could lurk before making my choice. I found blogs and Facebook groups, pinterest boards and youtube tutorials. This is great news for a non-artist like me who WANTS to make beautiful things but doesn't quite know how.

I finally decided on the one-column (meaning there is only one column of scriptures per page) ESV from Crossway, with a solid cover and an elastic band that keeps it closed when not in use--and also flattens the pages I've just drawn on.

There are several theories of how this should be done, but I've found that within the communities of journalers, there is surprisingly little judgement and tons of encouragement. Some choose to only use the margins and never cover the actual scriptures. Others cover portions or all of the scriptures, usually in a background color that enhances the illustrations or words they've chosen to focus on. Still others do their study in the Bible then illustrate in a separate drawing pad. So far, I fall into the first category. I have chosen to highlight or underline the scriptures I'm focusing on but I don't cover them. Those who do, obviously use other Bibles for reading or study, and this artistic version serves as a creative journal only.

I've been pleasantly surprised at how many options there are for using this Bible. Of course, I can write my notes without fear that the little yellow sticky paper I had available at the time will fall out later. These notes are permanently attached to the page! I can use pens and simply letter a verse that stands out to me. Or I can take a giant leap and draw along the sides, top, and bottom of the page, since there is so much space for expression. I'm careful to date each entry so I can look back and see where I've been on this spiritual journey.

Many of the illustrations I've found are shared from people just like me--okay, more artistic versions of me--who choose to make their work available. They are gracious to allow copying, so that's pretty much what I do right now. When a verse stands out to me, I generally have an idea of what it "looks like" artistically, so then I google away until I've found something close. Sometimes I trace it onto my page, and sometimes I just use it as a guide. I'm quite thankful there are so many artists out there who are okay with this.

Here are a few resources for those who are interested in getting started.

Ideas from Pinterest (You could get lost here, digging through the bazillion boards devoted to bible journaling and #illustratedfaith!)

One of many Facebook groups dedicated to sharing ideas and asking questions

Illustrated Faith, an official page with products, message boards, and events

A series of blog posts about doodling, with daily projects and step-by-step instructions

A large collection of Youtube videos specific to journaling in your Bible

Happy arting! I'd love to see how you illustrate your Bible in the comments below.

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