I began combining Scripture & creativity at a very early age
I accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior when I was in 3rd grade. Ever since then I have had a fondness for The Word of God. Even as a little girl, I would make and send out my own hand-made greeting cards and Christmas cards, which always included a Scripture. Through the years, I have experienced the power of The Word at work in my life, and therefore, have become even more passionate about it.
Scrapbooking & Homeschooling Era
In the 1990s I got into scrapbooking and really fell in love with it. I could scrapbook for hours upon hours. I often included Scripture in my scrapbook pages and also included journaling about my faith and how God was working in our lives.
I also made pretty Scripture memory cards and affirmation cards to help me memorize and pray God’s Word. Also, I was homeschooling our children at that time and we did lots of creative activities during our Bible study lessons.
Later, I went back to school and graduated with a degree in Visual Communications (which included lots of instruction in graphic design.) I had always loved doing arts and crafts type stuff but never considered myself an artist because I was never able to draw anything that looked realistic. And I would get frustrated when trying to draw. If I made one little mistake I would have to start all over again. So when I discovered graphic design I fell in love with it because it was so easy to correct mistakes and edit your designs. It was so much easier to me than drawing, and I wasn’t so worried about making a mistake or wasting so much paper and supplies.
So then I began designing greeting cards, stationery and even Scripture art using my graphic design skills. I loved creating things with Scripture because I found that, while doing so, I was hiding The Word in my heart, which helped me have more victory in my everyday life.
After I got an iPhone I also liked creating Scripture graphics using iPhone apps and setting them as my lock screen.
Hand-lettering & Illustrating Scripture
About 4-5 years ago, my Bible study group was studying Psalm 119, which is all about The Word of God. I remember reading verse 47-48 in the Message Bible and thinking, “Now that is how I want to feel about The Word.” This was about the time that hand-lettering was beginning to get popular. I really liked that style of artwork, and I missed the feel of pencil on paper. So, I decided to challenge myself to hand-letter Psalm 119:47-48 to help me memorize it.
The result is pictured above. It did not turn out as beautiful as the images I had seen on Instagram, but I loved it! And what I loved even more was that, as I was drawing it, it was as if it was being embossed on my heart. Some Scriptures I have memorized, only to forget them a few years (or a few days) later. But this Scripture I will never forget. Even today, I can close my eyes and see each word exactly as I had drawn it.
Furthermore, what was even more exciting to me, was that I began to declare this by faith, and every day, little by little, I found myself cherishing Scripture more and more, and falling more in love with The Word of God. I was hooked and I began hand-lettering more Scriptures. I might use them as a coloring page or scan and save to my computer, then add color digitally.
Bible Journaling in a Bible
It wasn’t until a year or two later that I actually began doing that kind of thing in my Bible. When I first heard about Illustrated Faith and Bible Journaling and saw the beautiful images of decorated Bible pages on Pinterest, my heart skipped a beat. I thought the idea of drawing, coloring, and hand-lettering inside your Bible was a fun and brilliant idea. It was also a scary idea… I mean, what if I made a mistake? I couldn’t just tear the page out and throw it away.
Besides, I didn’t have one of those “journaling” Bibles with the wide margins. But when a dear friend of mine, who knew I would absolutely LOVE Bible journaling gave me a journaling Bible, (and it wasn’t even my birthday or Christmas), well, I knew that I had to give it a try.
I knew what Scripture I wanted to use for my First Bible Journaling Page – John chapter 1 – because when I discovered that Jesus actually is The Word of God, that changed my perspective and attitude toward the Bible. I want to know Jesus more, so the more I get to know the Bible, the better I know Jesus. Above are photos of my first page. It is not perfect and I wish I would have left off a few of the extra embellishments. But that’s OK. It is part of my faith journey.
I would have to say that my favorite technique is hand-lettering because I find that it helps me memorize or “hide” the Scripture in my heart best. I like to then add color using colored pencils or watercolor pencils and glitter gel pens.
Oh, and I love to use eyeshadow for soft, airy backgrounds. I just rub it on with a cotton swab or a cotton ball for larger areas. It takes less time to fill in the backgrounds this way. Plus, it leaves a softer, smoother texture, which I like.
Journals, Journaling Cards and Sermon Notes
I do Bible journaling in my Bible, and in an art journal, but I also like to do it on cards with pretty borders, which I place in various places around my house, car & office to help meditate on Scripture even when my Bible is not open. I also try to add some color and creativity to my sermon notes.
Also, I live in an RV, and therefore, have very limited space. That is another reason that I choose to do hand-lettering and drawing in my Bible, rather than using a lot of different supplies and tools. All of my Bible journaling supplies fit in a tote bag. That way I can easily do Bible journaling at my kitchen table, or outside on the patio table, or while sitting in my bed.
But hand-lettering does take more time and energy. I have discovered that I prefer to just color in already drawn illustrations on days when I am really tired or lacking energy and/or focus. Often, at bedtime, I like to color in a Scripture coloring book or in a coloring Bible.
I just recently purchased the Praise Inspire Bible and I am really enjoying coloring in it. I find that putting on some worship music or a Bible teaching and coloring in my Bible is quite relaxing and helps me to unwind at the end of long day. Then I continue meditating on and picturing in my mind the Scripture as I drift off to sleep.
I encourage you to try different techniques and find what works for you and what you enjoy most.