Let’s talk about Bible Art Journaling. Maybe you’ve seen some of the pictures on social media of beautifully colored Bibles. Maybe they capture your attention and you look; but then you immediately think, “There’s no way I could do that.” I totally thought that! But then I had some friends give me the supplies for my birthday one year and I gave it a shot. Through my experiences, I’ve found there are a couple of sticking points most people have when they think of Bible art journaling that mighut resonate with you too. But there are also some really solid reasons why you should try it anyways. Especially, if you’re someone who is creative and visual, if you just want to spend more time in your Bible, or if you’d like to explore a different kind of worship. Here are the reasons you may not try it and why you totally should.
Reasons you might not try it.
- Lots of people don’t want to mark up their Bibles. Either because you can’t read it then, or because it’s the Bible. And isn’t there something wrong with creating on the inspired word of God?
- They don’t know the benefits. It looks nice, but why spend time coloring in your Bible?
- This is the big one, they don’t think they can do it; and don’t want to try and then mess up. It looks like something only art type people can do.
Let’s take number three first. Lots of us feel anxiety about creating. We don’t think we can do what others are doing, and we don’t want to try and fail. It’s a fear. I deliberately use the term creative here, on my blog, because so many people get hung up on the term “art.” We all like to create things, but the concept of “making crafts” is much less threatening then “creating art.” So just the name, Bible ART Journaling has some running for cover.
Take a good look at what you’re scared of and see if your actions match.
So here’s my fear confession- I don’t always want to go to church. In fact, I start dreading church on Friday’s. Usually, I can push through the fear by telling myself I just have to show up and find a seat. But a few weeks ago, I had a panic attack in our garage as we were getting ready to go. It made me question my faith. Do I feel like this because I don’t want to worship? Am I avoiding the Word? Am I moving away from God?
But the truth is, that I thrive on scripture. I love worshipping. I wake up daily and do a devotion. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I often pray myself back to sleep. So on reflection, I realized my daily actions don’t match up to those of someone who is running away from God.
That made me look around for a different reason, and I realized it’s social anxiety. I’ve never liked crowded places, and I avoid functions. I do well in small groups, but I do best if I’m one on one with someone. If I could avoid events of any sort I totally would, and often do.
How to get over your fear of making art.
But that’s not real life, and over the years I’ve developed some ways of overcoming my fear of social situations that apply to art anxiety too. The first is remembering why this is important for me. The second, is just reassuring myself that all I have to do is take the next step. Once I’m there, finding a spot a little away from others that’s not enclosed, or is near an exit helps.
Those same coping mechanisms can help you approach any fear. Including a fear of making “art.”
Reasons why you should try it.
Here are some of my reasons to try Bible art journaling.
- Because it gets me into my Bible. As part of the process, I read and meditate on scripture. I let it sit, and I let it inspire me.
- I try to match the verses to my own experience, and then create a design based on that. It’s a form of creative worship that completely connects me, as the person I was crafted by God to be; through the power of the Holy Spirit, to the inspired Word of God.
- More then singing a song, more then serving, more then listening to a sermon; this is visual. This is my way of thinking, learning, and appreciating my faith.
- It’s both spirit filling and faith supporting.
Take the first step, and then the next.
I’ve found two things are helpful to tell anyone who’s even kind of interested in Bible art journaling. The first is you don’t have to mark up your Bible. I have a separate Bible for art journaling that is specifically made with wide margins. If I wanted to, I could create just in those margins, and never cover up any of the text. But, I consider this my process Bible. Which means, I have other Bibles that I can read, take to church with me, or do devotions with. My journaling Bible is the one I let myself create in as a form of worship and personal connection with God.
Also, a Bible is a book that is printed. It comes in many translations, with lots of notes and subtitles, and numbers that were added and are not in the oldest copies we’ve found. By adding your own notes, highlights, or pictures you’re actually following in the tradition of Celtic monks who illustrated some gorgeous Bibles as early as the 6th century. It’s a totally okay thing to do.
The second thing that really hooks people is the idea of templates. Bible pages are usually pretty thin, if you have a printed out template then you can just slide that under your page and trace it. If you don’t feel comfortable tracing, you can literally just cut them out, glue them into your Bible margins, and color. Some of the Bibles, like the Beautiful Word version have even done the tracing for you, and have illustrations ready to color already printed in the margins. I’ve also made some templates of pages in my Bible that I’ll post soon.
Create a safe environment and find your focal point.
Rarely can I create well when I’m distracted. I don’t think I’ve ever made something good in a class setting, I just try to get the instruction and experience out of a class and then apply it once I’m home, and alone. I know this, and have learned to be okay with that. Then, I go home, get out my materials, sit at the table by myself, and play.
When I’m journaling, I follow a similar process, but I make sure I remember to pray before I start. I’ll ask that this would be a time of connection between myself and God, that he will reveal his Word to me, that he will guide my heart as well as my hands. You can pray this too.
Then I’ll find my focal point. I’ll search out a verse, or chapter; and I’ll read through it several times.
But I will read the verse, and then the verses around it, so that I can get the context of what I’m reading. I’ll underline whatever stands out to me, and then I’ll sit and consider those verses. Then I try to match up an image to that passage. Either one in my head, or one that I saw somewhere that speaks to these verses. An example would be an image of a whale swimming, with the story in Jonah. Or a pasture, some sheep, and a valley come to mind when I read Psalm 23.
Remember the why.
It’s really not as hard as you may think to start, and if you keep in mind that it’s not about the product, but the process of drawing closer to God through his word; would you be willing to try it? For the creative and visual person this is a form of connecting to your Creator and meditating on scripture that specifically would resonate with you. You get to play with colors, and it really helps center your mind on the verse you’re illustrating. You also get to filter the verse through your own experience, and connect with it by creating with it. It’s truly faith support for the artistic and creative personality.
Just think on it.
Maybe just think on it for a bit. You might also want to check out my Pinterest board for Bible Art Journaling Ideas and Inspiration. My last post on stopping comparisons before you start creating might help too. But it’s a process that could really grow your faith and if it appeals to you at all, then prayerfully consider it.
For More Inspiration
If you’re super excited to start I have a whole bunch of posts on Bible Art Journaling that will progressively take you from the how to start to creating on the page with watercolor pencils, inks, markers, paints, stamps, and more. You’ll be introduced to different techniques, pro tips, supplies, and more. I also have a Quick Start Guide to Bible Art Journaling and templates available for download in my Creativity Resource Library!
Let’s talk about it!
If you have any questions, or apprehensions that I didn’t address, then just leave them at the bottom of this post and I’ll reply. I’d love to read your comments or any experience you have with this as well! AND if someone came to mind as you were reading this I would love to have you share this post with them!