Are you someone who loves Bible journaling? Coloring, painting, or drawing? Writing quotes in lovely calligraphy? Or just taking moments here and there to express your own unique form of creativity? If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions…or even if you don’t feel that you even are particularly creative, but would like to learn to be…you are going to love the books I’m sharing with you today! Worthy Publishing generously provided some of their newest Ellie Claire publications for me to use and review. They sent me copies of these lovely art journals, entitled Faith & Lettering Journal; The Illustrated Word (An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal); and Illuminate Your Story Journal. I have had hours of creative time, fun, and enjoyment with them. Let me tell you more!
Each of these books is a sturdy, hardback book that’s perfectly-sized for the lap or table. They have fun textures on their covers, touches of fabric or embossing here and there. Two have pencil or pen holders on their spines, and one has a ribbon bookmark and a stretchy elastic band to hold it closed. Although the page thicknesses vary somewhat, they all contain beautiful creamy pages with a nice heft. Illustrations of different types (according to whether the book is for lettering, illuminating, or coloring) pepper the pages, and there are grids, dots, and journal lines to guide your work. They are beautiful inside and out and are just a pleasure to look at, or to work in! And now that I’ve given you an overview of the books, I’d like to show you some of the features of each journal.
The Faith & Lettering Journal
If you’ve ever lurked around Pinterest, you’ve probably seen the italic, unusual lettering that people are doing right now in their Bibles or Bible journals. Have you ever wondered how on earth they wrote so beautifully? I have. And I’ve even worked on practicing a simple italic alphabet. But that’s still pretty far from the lettering I’d love to learn how to do. Faith & Lettering Journal to the rescue! This book includes:
- Full-page quotes and Bible verses on colorful painted backgrounds
- Pages of alphabets, doodles, and flourishes with lots of room for you to practice
- Illustrated verses with spaces for you to trace, practice, and repeat
- Empty pages with dots or grids for you to write your alphabets or verses in
- Directions and instructions to help you gain mastery in lettering
This is an example of the full-page, colorful quotes and facing blank journal pages throughout the book. One night I wondered if I could copy the lettering on the adjacent page….and lo and behold, I did! It was really fun and not too difficult. I simply worked in pencil (and eraser) word by word and line by line. Then, I got some gold tempera paint and a very skinny paintbrush and filled in the letters. (You can see a photo of me painting the gold in the trio pictures below). In this book, I used mostly pencil (don’t forget the eraser and a good sharpener so your pencil point stays sharp), tempera paint, and thin paintbrushes. The paint never soaked through the pages, which means you’ll always have a fresh canvas to attempt!
The Faith & Lettering Journal provides a huge variety of alphabets, verses, and lots of instructions for both the novice Bible journal student and the more experienced one. You don’t have to work the book in order. Just page through the journal, find something you’d like to try, and jump in!
You can find the Faith & Lettering Journal at the following links:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/FaithAndLettering-BN
The Illustrated Word
The Illustrated Word (An Illuminated Bible Coloring Journal) might just be the most beautiful coloring book you’ve ever seen. Its images are taken from the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which has a quite fascinating collection of historical Bibles, fragments, Books of Hours, and art inspired by the Bible. In The Illustrated Word, you’ll find images, verses, prayers, and art from a variety of these sources. The reproduced images are rich and colorful, and the coloring pages taken from these are verses with incredible art, historical images with intricate borders, or even redrawn pictures that resemble stained glass windows. Lined blank pages round out the journal, so you have spaces to write your thoughts, prayers, or descriptions of the art you’ve created.
Some of my favorite pages included scenes from the book of Esther (taken from an old parchment scroll from Israel), images from a Book of Hours from the 1300s, and a commentary on the Apocalypse from 1420. How encouraging to think of believers who loved art and God’s Word throughout the ages! And, to have reproductions and journaling pages of these is a pretty amazing benefit of living in our own day and age.
This journal is printed on thick, creamy pages. The art media that worked best for me as I created in The Illustrated Word were tempera paint and brushes, or paint pens (my favorite). I used colored pencils and they looked just fine, but they honestly didn’t provide the vivid colors that I felt these pages deserved. I even tried my tube watercolors; while the colors looked fantastic on the pages, some of the color did bleed through. Colored markers are also a great idea, plus they have the fine points you’ll need for some detail.
You can purchase The Illustrated Word at:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Illustrated-BN
Illuminate Your Story Journal
Have you ever heard of illuminated pages? The short answer is that monks would copy prayers and Scriptures into handwritten books. Sometimes these were Bibles, and sometimes Books of Hours (prayers and Scriptures with illustrations). What they often had in common were illuminated (decorated, ornate paintings) first letters. These would often be an enlarged letter, surrounded by a painted and golden square, which would be the first letter of the prayer or Bible chapter. These were often given as gifts from a prospective groom to his fiancee, or to other members of well-to-do families (since literacy in the Middle Ages was generally confined to those and to priests, monks, or clergy).
The Illuminate Your Story Journal was captivating to me, because I had just taught a lesson on Books of Hours to my elementary art class this fall (and had them illuminate their own initials)! And, this journal even has a short lesson on illuminated art at the beginning, as well as a list of materials and instructions. You’ll also find practice pages so that you can learn to create illuminated letters. Each letter of the English alphabet has two decorated (and quite different) versions to draw. Step-by-step directions and squares are given so that users can draw both the letter and ornate decorations around it, as well as a grid of dots to help you utilize the space. You’ll find nice thick pages and a wealth of creative ways to illuminate letters.
With this book, I used my gold paint pen, a no. 2 pencil for the original and practice drawings, and colored pencils to color in the letters and decorations. Colored markers and a fine-tip black ink pen will round out all you need to make beautiful illuminations. (Although, as always, I love using tempera paint in these books! For some reason tempera lays nicely on the pages and makes vivid color without sinking through to the other sides of the paper.)
Check out these links to find Illuminate Your Story Journal:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Illuminate-BN
I have absolutely loved using these books myself. Whether it has been just looking at them on my table, paging through the illustrations, or actually diving in and creating (or attempting to create! :)) beauty, I’ve found them to be such a joy. Working in these journals has allowed me to step aside to a quiet place. It has not only produced peace in me as I’ve focused on doing just one thing, creatively; it has lifted my spirit as I’ve been able to notice more of the beauty of the Lord, His Word, and His creation. What a blessing!
Check these beautiful journals out. They’d make a wonderful gift for friends or family; for teachers or Bible study groups; or even for you, yourself!
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