The Illustrating Bible

by Krystal Whitten May 07, 2019 8 Comments

The Illustrating Bible

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.

This is the 5th journaling Bible I've had the privilege of owning, so I'll walk you through this one, and you can read my previous reviews here and here for comparison.* 

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:

  1. You can ink it in with pen and be done.
  2. You can ink it in and then add some color with colored pencils or markers.
  3. You can layer on top of the watercolor with acrylic or other media.

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. 


    And lastly, I used my Tombow Fudenosuke to ink the script letters and a fine line pen to ink in the other lettering. See the short demo video of the Fudenosuke in use below.


    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

    The specs from Dayspring:

    • Pages 75% thicker than typical journal Bibles to reduce bleed through
    • 3 3/4" wide margins with blank space for journaling and creativity
    • Bible Size: 9 1/4" x 9 1/4" x 2"
    • Packaged Size: 11 3/4" x 13 3/4"
    • Version: CSB - Christian Standard Bible
    • Faux leather cover
    • Foil stamp detailing
    • Faux suede liner on inside covers
    • Metallic spiral binding
    • 936 pages
    • 8 point font size
    • Single column
    • Lay-flat design
    • Premium keepsake box
    • ISBN: 1644543265

    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. 


    Krystal Whitten
    Krystal Whitten


    8 Responses


    May 08, 2019

    Yes, I love this. Please continue with all that you do, and thank you for sharing
    your beautiful talent.


    May 07, 2019

    Please keep posting anything and everything. I’m very new at this and appreciate everything you post


    May 07, 2019

    Yes please continue doing tutorials like this! I’m just getting into both Bible journaling and lettering and trying to learn everything I can. It’s a bit overwhelming but also fun! I have your Faith and Lettering book and journal but haven’t got too far in them yet. It’s one of my summer goals!


    May 07, 2019

    Very beautiful display of color and design! Love it! So glad you notified us. I’m going to check into the Bible and work on same techniques you used.


    May 07, 2019

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. Tutorials are always helpful. I love the idea of the Bible; the wide margins are great. The only draw back for me is that the font size is way too small. Do you know if Day Spring plans to offer an Illustrating Bible with a larger font in the future?

    Anna Cavazos
    Anna Cavazos

    May 07, 2019

    I LOVE this Krystal! I didn’t realize your Faith and Lettering book came with how-to’s for florals so neat! I probably won’t spend the money now on this bible but I sincerely appreciate your illustrating lesson because I definitely learned a couple things to up my own game with my She Reads Truth bible!


    May 07, 2019

    Please continue with your reviews and tutorials. I may some day get up the nerve to try this. I love what you do and if envy weren’t one of those pesky sins I would envy your talent. As it is I am grateful for such beautiful ways to display God’s word.


    May 07, 2019

    Such beautiful work! Very interesting to see your process. I admire the talent and giftedness in you! ~ Soli Deo gloria ~

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