Hey there! I have sitting on my desk a new journaling Bible that is so beautiful and special, I had to share it with you. It's called the Illustrating Bible from Dayspring. Today I'm going to take you through a little demonstration of how I painted in it as well as a review of the Bible itself.
The new Illustrating Bible is emerald green on the outside with a gold foil stamped logo. Dayspring describes it as being specifically designed with the Bible journaler in mind. That means thicker paper, wider margins, and spiral binding. There are no pre-drawn illustrations in this Bible so you can make it 100% your style. This kind of journaling Bible will appeal to you if you prefer to do your own artwork rather than color.
I'll give you all the nitty gritty specs and details later, but for now, let's get creative with it!
I'm going to paint in the Bible today, so I'm using gesso (pronounced jes-ō) to prep the page and protect from bleed-through. In the past, I skipped the gesso because I was too impatient for the extra step. But I've discovered I like the texture it adds to the paper, and if bleed-through bothers you, you'll probably want to add it.
Make sure you use one that's transparent in case you want to paint over the words without covering them up. (My first attempt at gesso was an opaque blend, and I had to quickly blot it off because it covered up all the scripture.)
When you put on the gesso, lightly dip your brush in water and then spread the gesso on the page. It looks like glue and can be thick without the water. Let it dry (it dries pretty quickly).
Now if you're not using watercolor and you don't plan on heavy coloring with marker, you don't really need to gesso your page. You can use many pens and colored pencils without any problem, especially since the pages of the Illustrating Bible are thicker than most Bible paper. Feel free to skip that step and just test your pens on a page in the back to make sure they don't bleed.
Once it's dry, you can add your paint. I chose watercolor today, although I usually prefer to work with acrylics. The gesso will protect from the paint bleeding, but the amount of water you use will affect how "bubbled" or wrinkled the paper gets. No fear! When you close your Bible, the page will smooth out over time.
When I do a watercolor background, I'm not worried about any kind of technique (mostly because I'm not that good at watercolor!). I simply want to cover the paper and have some variation of color. See the short video demo below.
While you wait for your paint to dry, write out the verse you'll be drawing, and think about which words you want to highlight. I circle them so they stand out. You can highlight a word by making it bigger, thicker, different style than the rest, putting it in a shape or banner, etc.
After your paint is dry, pencil in your design. My favorite pencil is the Blackwing Pearl, but really any pencil will do! This is the fun part. Draw lightly so you can erase easily. Have fun with it, and try new things. I went back and refreshed myself on how to draw a poppy in my book Faith and Lettering (Don't judge, it's been awhile since I've done that one).
Once you're happy with your pencil design, there are several things you can do:
I decided to add some acrylic paint to the flowers to make them stand out. These are the cheap, 99¢ bottles you can find in any craft store. The acrylic paint is opaque unless you water it down, and it sits on top of the paper nicely. In fact, you can use acrylic without the gesso and it won't bleed unless you use water to thin it out.
Choose the colors you want to use in your design, and squeeze them out on a paper plate or a plastic paint palette as shown below.
Using a small round brush – I prefer a firmer brush to a softer brush – begin to paint in your design. Don't be afraid to use multiple colors and to mix your colors to add some dimension to it.
Almost done. I used some Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleedproof White to brighten up the page and add some highlights to the flowers. Bleedproof White will not bleed into the colors of the background like usual white acrylic paint will.
Tada! It's done! But wait - first we have to erase any visible pencil marks! And once we're done with that, it's complete. Don't forget to date it so you can go back and remember when you did it and also track your progress. It's always fun to see how you improve or change your style over time.
I loved using the Illustrating Bible! The paper is noticeably thicker and I had no issues with bleed through or indentions in the page below from pressing too hard (a common problem for me). The spiral is a nice feature because it's much easier to draw on the opposite side page (something I notice as a lefty). And the wider margin is also appreciated because I didn't have to squeeze my design in.
I do want to mention the weight. It's very heavy, weighing in (on my scale) at 5 lbs. So this definitely isn't a traveling Bible – you're probably not going to want to take it to church or on vacation with you because it would be cumbersome to carry. The nice thing is it comes in a keepsake gift box for storing it in between your daily devotions or creative time.
As for the price point, it comes in at $99.99, which puts it on the higher end. But taking into account the larger size and thicker materials, I believe the price point is suitable. If you choose to invest in this Bible, it could easily become a favorite family heirloom that you pass from one generation to another.
Here are more images from Dayspring.com:
The specs from Dayspring:
The Illustrating Bible is on sale now for pre-order and will begin shipping May 15, 2019.
If you enjoyed this tutorial and review, please share it with your friends!
With love and lettering,
*Please Note: I did not receive any compensation for this review, however I did receive the Illustrating Bible in exchange for writing a review. I strive to give my honest opinion at all times and share products that I myself would or do use. Amazon Affiliate links are used in this post at no extra cost to you.
Comments will be approved before showing up.