I started art journaling in my Bible recently, and just wanted to put everything I've learned in a blog post for others who may be interested in doing the same thing.
** If you're not a Bible reader but you've got a journal with thin pages, or you think you might like to respond creatively on the pages of another type of book, I hope you'll find my product suggestions helpful as well.
It took me a while to push past the fear of messing up or not doing it 'pretty'... I find though that most art jumps that I am afraid of turn out to be very rewarding when I do actually go for it. Mixed media was one of those jumps, if that's any indicator! I love this method. As you can well imagine, I'm a visual learner and I like to work out my thoughts and emotions visually, especially in words and in color. Word pictures are very moving to me, and I love the ability to respond to what I'm reading visually or in imagery. Others who are journaling in their Bibles are choosing a verse and creating word art in the margin. It's obviously very personal and each style and response is very different. If you'd like to be a part of a private group of Bible Journalers on Facebook, you can find more information HERE. (That group is getting large... which is wonderful but can be overwhelming too. Up to you.)
I'll share links throughout the post - please know that these are affiliate links, but all are products that I've used and know and love. If you click through and purchase, these companies will kick a small commission my way, which helps me keep my studio and supplies up to date. Thank you!
I did purchase a new Bible for this purpose, the ESV Single Column Journaling Bible. There are wide margin and journaling Bibles available in other versions as well, if the ESV isn't your translation of choice (it's new to me). Scroll down on the linked page above for other cover and price options as well.
The book itself measures about 7"x8", and at 1-1/2" thick I think it's a nice size for all the extra space they've added inside! The margins are 1-7/8" wide from the edge of the paper to the edge of the text, with more room in the more poetic sections. Lots of room to art. :) I love the lines in the margins too - even if I write larger or smaller, the parallel lines keep me from going all crookedy.
The font size is a bit small, 7.5 point - but not unreadable. It's fine for me. The pages feel thicker than the larger format study Bible and bilingual Bible I've been using. I'm pleased with the quality of the book itself.
I started by creating a test page in the back of my Bible. Here's what that looks like, on the front and back... this is scanned directly and not adjusted so you can see my notes and the effects from each medium on the reverse.
I had an idea of what products would work best, and I didn't test products that I knew would bleed through. Some are using wet media to color around their journaling, and I've chosen not to. Here are my product recommendations, and I've starred my favorites. In case it might be helpful, I've collected them all into one store page on Amazon - that's HERE.
It seems that pigment pens are the best for writing on these thinner pages. I tested one oil-based pen and it did bleed through. These were my favorites:
* Staedtler Pigment Liner Sketch Pens
* Uni Pin Drawing Pens
* Sakura 30064 6-Piece Pigma Micron Pens
Ohto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pen - Pigment Ink - Pack of 6 (I like how this writes, but it does have a ball point instead of the fine felt tip)
Sakura Souffle Assorted Color 3-Dimensional Opaque Ink Pen Set (just another fun medium to work with - the white shows up well over other coloring)
Memento Luxe Mixed Media Inkpads (many vibrant colors to choose from!)
Versamagic chalk ink pad (I love the option of the Dew Drop pads - there are some beautiful soft colors in their line as well)
If you're afraid of messing up your Bible because you can't draw.......... you can stamp or stencil! I found the inks above work well on the pages. Versamark ink did show through, as did Versafine. As an alternative to Versamark, I found I could use the white Memento Luxe for stamping, and brush pastels over it for a softer look. Here's a stamped image from Unity Stamps.
I wanted to use dry media in my art, and not incorporate anything wet or that would bleed through. This is what is working for me:
* Prismacolor Pencils
Derwent Watercolor Pencils
Derwent water-soluble graphite
(Any of the pencils mentions here can be used dry or blended with odorless mineral spirits. The OMS does not cause the pigment to bleed through, though you may notice some slight darkening on the back side of the page for a few minutes as it dries. Once it dries, there's no sign of it. I tried the SU blender pen and did see some color showing through. It works, but not the best.)
Lightly sponged inks (even dye inks)
You'll notice on my test page that I have a patch of clear gesso and a patch done with acrylic paints and a Gelli Plate. Those do work as well, though I didn't like the texture left by the gesso and I didn't like the way it pulled. If you're comfortable using wet media, try out some techniques on a page in the back of your Bible. The gel plate worked well, but I'll save that for a page where I won't be doing much writing, since acrylic paint is pretty opaque. I'd like to get the smallest plate, too, for easier handling. I'll share more in another blog post when I've played around with paint and gel printing a little more.
A few others things that I keep handy:
Blending Stumps #4 (for blending pencils or pastels)
Pentel Clic Eraser (for stray marks - a smaller eraser is less likely to 'grab' and wrinkle a page)
Krylon Workable Fixatif Spray Clear (to seal in coloring that may tend to smear, such as pastels or pencil - the spray also gives a little 'tooth' for additional color layering)
Sofft Art Sponges, Assorted, 4-Pack (these are great for use with the PanPastels - these are the medium sized ones)
Shurtape Frog Tape Multi-Use Delicate Surface Paint Block Tape, 1-Inch x 60-Yard (for masking or attaching journaling cards or other ephemera - if you're going to be removing it, be sure to get the one formulated for delicate surfaces - it's great!)
Plaid Simply Stencil Sheets (for masking off large areas or cutting stencils by hand or with dies) - or use commercial stencils to add designs or images to your pages - here's a page combining commercial and die cut stencils.
I die cut a couple of word stencils so that I could mark themes or favorite words easily. Here's one...
This new ABC set from Impression Obsession worked best for me, and I'll share some tips for lining up the letters in another post.
Whew! If this is something that interests you, I hope I've given you enough information to get you going. If you have questions, leave them in the comments below and I'll answer them in a separate post.