In the beginning God created light and dark, He created sunsets of brilliant oranges and pinks. He also created the clays of the earth so full of colors that the earliest artists used its pigments to create on their cave walls. So do we. According to the the writers at invaluable.com, “A natural pigment is one that is found in nature that is ground, sifted, washed, and in rarer cases, heated to create a desired hue.” Artists have been using the same natural materials for centuries. We add these pigments to a specific type of binder, and that creates a type of art medium; for example, oil paints, inks etc. Acrylic paints are defined as “a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion” (wikipedia), and we’re going to learn how to use acrylic paints in your Bible Art Journaling.
Acrylics are a favorite of mine because of their bold bright saturated colors, their quick dry quality, and their low cost and accessibility. So learning to use acrylic paints in my Bible Art Journaling was a goal I had early on in my journey- and one I can’t wait to introduce to you. Through my own experience I found there are a couple of things you can do that will give you awesome results when creating with acrylics in your Bible.
The first tip is to prep your page. I have the how-to info for that below, as well as the best brands to use. Second, be aware of how you’re applying your paint. I’ll demo that in the project video below, but also walk you through the process in the step out for today’s project- creating a page based on Matthew 28 using acrylics!
Why you Need to Prep your Page
Acrylic paints are amazing. Using them in your Bible Art Journaling gives you the ability to make big, bold, color-infused areas and marks on your Bible page. Usually acrylics are used on canvas. When you’re creating on your Bible’s page you’re creating on a thin paper meant to hold a small amount of printer’s ink. When you use other mediums on the page it wants to tear, it wants to buckle, and it wants to bleed through to the other side. You can still use other mediums, but you have to prep your page.
Why you Want to Prep your Page
-Make your page stronger and thicker, so that it will hold the weight of additional materials.
-Seal your page so that anything you put on top of the paper doesn’t soak into (and through) the page.
-Make your prep medium clear, so that you can see through it to the words printed on the page beneath.
-Make it have a bit of a texture so that the pigments will catch and hold to it, and not just wipe off. But not so rough that it will tear up your felt nibs on your pens when you glide them over the page.
The Best Page Prep Medium
Because I think this sort of thing is a blast, I bought a whole bunch of mediums and compared and contrasted them in my Bible. Of all that I tried, the one I absolutely LOVED the best was Art Basics Clear Gesso by Finnabair. It met all the criteria I mentioned above, and it doesn’t have any shine to it. I like my prepped page to look as much as possible like an unprepped page when I start.
The Clear Gesso is extremely matte, has a bit more of a subtle texture then the Modge Podge, and it feels thicker to my hand. Even the matte Modge Podge had a shine that made my markers look kind of shiny on it. You can kind of see that in the photo.
The Art Basics Prima Clear Gesso is not widely available in stores, while the Modge Podge is. I purchase it on Amazon, and have included the links in the supplies list to make it easy for you.
Pro Tip: I did create other videos and projects in this series, including A Quick Start Guide to Bible Art Journaling that shows how to use templates if you don’t have a wide margin Bible, and Bible Art Journaling: Creating on the Page of your Bible that demos tracing a template and using inktense pencils on your Bible page.
Project: How to use acrylic paints in your Bible Art Journaling
- Journaling Bible (Wide Margin Bible)
- Print out of Matt. 28 Template (Free download from the Creative Resource Library)
- Art Basics Clear Gesso
- Foam Brush
- Teflon Craft Sheet (or you can sub wax paper)
- Acrylic Craft Paints (I use multi surface)
- Paintbrush (with small water dish)
- Paper Towels
- Pencil and Eraser
- Pitt Pen, black (small)
Step one: Prep your page
Applying a medium to your page is a snap and I demo it in the video below. Start by putting something under the page you’re prepping so that if the medium goes over the edge of the page it doesn’t glue multiple pages together. Use a foam brush, and apply lightly, in an even application, all over the page. I start in the center of the book, and brush out to the edges. Do the whole page, even if you only plan to work in the margins. Also, I often do the two pages that are open to me at the same time, even if I only plan to work on one. It’s a time saver when I do decide to come back to that page. Leave open, with the page protectors in place, to dry.
Pro Tip: You can use something like wax paper, but I prefer Teflon craft mats. I purchase one sheet and cut it in half, and then cut one of the halves in half. The two smaller pieces fit perfectly under the pages, and the larger piece works great as a palette for my paints.
Step Two: Print the template
We’ll be using the free template I created for this post. You can find the Matt. 28 (Great Commission) template at www.wellcraftedstudio.com/library/. Access is instant when you subscribe to my Creative Resource Library. (You can unsubscribe at any time.) Fold the right side margin under, and then slide the template under your Bible page.
Step Three: Trace the template
Using a pencil, trace the image on the template onto your Bible page. If you’re having trouble seeing all the details, then just flip the page up and check your work occasionally. Set aside the template and get ready to paint!
Step Four: Set up your palette
Choose your paint colors, and add them to your palette. I’m using a craft mat in the video. You can use a paper plate or piece of wax paper, but I get a TON of mileage out of my craft sheet. I let the paint dry and then peel it off later. They wash easily with water but I just let mine dry and then peel off the cool paint splotches later. But I was ALSO one of those kids that liked to get glue on her fingers and peel it off. So if you like that- bonus!
Step Five: Get your brush ready
Lightly dip your brush in water, and then dab it off to the side. This fills the bristles of the brush a little with a small amount of water so that the paint flows a little more when you apply it to your surface. Pick up your paint, and then if you feel like you have too much, dab it off on your palette. Just little tricks, that some already know, but I like to put out there for those who haven’t ever thought about it.
Step Six: Paint your page
Start to color in areas of your sketch. Don’t color in everything, and do one color at a time. If you put on too much color too quickly, then the page gets muddy as the colors mix. Use a smaller tipped brush for the detailed areas, and a larger one to fill in the larger areas. Clean your brush off in the water between color changes, and again- make sure an area is somewhat dry before you lay in the next color. Let dry.
Step Seven: Add the text
Using either a brush, or pens; outline the pencil text. In the video I didn’t love what I did, so I think I wiped some of it off and re-did that part. Because we’re creating on a prepped page, you do have some latitude to wipe back what you don’t love.
Pro-tip: It’s hugely important to take breaks, and let your mind catch up to what you’re doing. Stepping back for even just a minute gives you a moment to get some perspective about what you’ve done and allows you to see clearly what you want to do next.
More Ways to Get Awesome Results
So there you go! You learned how to use acrylic paints in your Bible Art Journaling. Again, if you are starting with this post; there are three others that came before it that will help you to get more awesome results when creating in your Bible! They take you through a beginning sequence for trying Bible Art Journaling, including what it is, what the benefits are for your faith, and how to try it without having to invest in a lot of specialty supplies. The links are above. Also, if you sign up on my email list you’ll get the password to my Creative Resource Library that has all the templates I use in my posts, as well as a few more. You can also reply back to my email updates and ask any questions you might have about Bible Art Journaling and I’d be happy to help you!
One more thing…For extra goodness- here’s a link to my Bible Art Journaling Ideas and Inspiration Board on Pinterest. You know, because now that you’re interested, you’re going to want to see the possibilities….