Are you a journaler? I’ve done art journaling and Bible journaling for years, although not nearly as much art journaling as I’d like….I get as far as finishing a sketch and I have to get on with other big projects! But every fall I slide back in…and today I’ll compare some similarities and differences in art journaling vs Bible journaling.

REVISED GIVEAWAY UPDATE! It appears my website only allows reviews on SOME classes, and I’m trying to figure out why that is. So instead of that being your entry, leave a comment on THIS post about a class you took and what you would have left as a review. Sorry for the confusion!

Video: Art journaling vs Bible journaling

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Similarity #1: Journaling mediums

Both types of journaling can allow for a lot of the same mediums – but with Bible paper  you may need to adapt by using less of a medium, and testing it out to see if it bleeds or ghosts (see a discussion of that here.) But you can easily overcome it with a tip-in as discussed! There are no “rules” about any journaling as far as mediums, although some might think my pages are “illegal” since there’s not a bunch of Tim Holtz products on them like on many journal pages.

Watercolor, micron and white gel pen

Monoprint (gelli) with gouache flowers. Painted over text in the column above and below the headline.

Similarity #2: Journaling goals

Making art is a pretty straightforward goal! Sometimes journaling helps an artist relax, get un-stuck, or test out materials. However, I find that with just imagery, it might be pretty but lacks #3 below. Most of the time if it’s just an art piece without journaling, I’d do this in my sketchbook instead.

Acrylic with micron and signo white gel pen.

Acrylic + gouache, practice page for my Gratitude Junk Journal lesson.

Similarity #3: Personal growth

For me, growth comes from journaling, usually something I’m working out in-the-moment; I don’t use art or Bible journals anymore as a diary, but letting the art help me see past questions, blocks, and obstacles in my life.

Journaling happened first, then acrylic paint covered it up.

Journaling is atop the gelliprint; dark pen on dark color background

Difference #1: Journaling focus

The most obvious difference, Bible journaling is about faith, and art journaling can be faith related but I typically focus on art.

Based on a sermon; Jesus may not be what we ask for, but He is what we need in every circumstance.

Created while blue about the state of things. Left white space to journal reviews by students and cheered me up a ton.

Difference #2: Journal types

The paper in journaling Bibles is pretty much the same as you’re used to in most other Bibles; that doesn’t make it not ok for art! Ironing a wrinkled page after the watercolor dries can help it smooth out – it won’t be 100% back to normal but then again, your page has art on it which is an improvement 🙂

Art journals have thicker paper – but any sketchbook is fine.

Journaling Bibles can have wide columns, various arrangements but usually left and right sides. Also can get interleaved with blank pages between printed text pages.

Any journal or sketchbook is great for art journaling! I like the Dylusions books because paper is nice and thick. And works well for alcohol marker too.

Difference #3: Journaling process

While pages can be approached very differently one day to the next, my own process can be vastly different between art and Bible journaling.

  1. Bible journaling entails hearing from God first. Independently of figuring out an image to paint, I study first, make art later after assessing what I heard and how it applies to my life. I don’t decide “today I’ll paint a fish” then go seek a verse with a fish in it.
  2. Art journaling may have an idea in mind first, or can begin with just making marks. My art journaling sessions are often used to get un-stuck —- and once I put some color on the page, I dig deep to learn why I was stuck in the first place. Usually that leads to journaling and figuring out what to create art-wise.

Message received – it’s not my job to get someone cleaned up and repentant; my job is only to encourage them to look to Jesus and He’ll do the rest.

Page began with inspiration from Diebenkorn. Which led to journaling atop the paint, and painting over it to restore the design and hide the journaling.

Themed journal

If you struggle with what to create on your pages, try a themed journal. Find a small one like this little board book with few pages, and make a list of X number of related things to journal about. It could be  favorite artists who inspire you, moments of “aha” when you learned something in art, your favorite trees, it can be anything! I decided to try capturing my current Sandy-isms; these change over the years, so this is my 2023 list of over-blathered phrases. Tab through using the arrow to see them all.

Gratitude Junk Journal class giveaway

I get to give away a seat in the class! You’re most welcome to comment on this post, too, but go pick out one of my classes that you’ve taken or a download  – and leave a review for other students to see! The website seems to only allow reviews on a few classes all of a sudden. AGH! So instead, leave a comment on this post with what you would have posted as the review. After my recent bout with feeling like a failure, it does my heart so much good to know all that I put into my work is making a difference for artists. I’ll have pick a winner from all new reviews this week – and announce it on Saturday Sept 30 Sunday October 1!

My class lesson inspiration

Below is the inspiration for my lesson in class; I created this small version using a gelli print with gouache for the bird painting; in class I do a different technique for the background on bigger pages, and show you how to paint the image – but you can also do the same with any image you want for your page. Acrylic or gouache works great!

Lots of instructors will be using all different mediums in class – you can use whatever you like. Get inspired by all the themes of gratitude!

My journaling classes sale

For the remainder of September, get a nice discount on two of the journaling classes:

This class teaches a study method to help to read Scripture deeply, hear the message God has for us as individuals – and then a method to brainstorm imagery to express God’s message!

Create an art journal all about your creative journey – in Copic marker! Techniques and pep talks will help expand both your skills and your confidence!  


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

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  1. Diane Hanson

    I’ve enjoyed being a student of yours in several copic classes. I’ve signed up and completed flower card making classes and need to get back to creating some more cards as I’m running low. Needless to say, I’ve followed you for a number of years! I am currently doing watercolor and gouche…and look forward to tuning in for your videos and comparison of products. You have exceptional talent and I’m so happy that you are called to share your talent with other aspiring artists.

  2. Karen Zemko

    I will try to get back to comment on a class I bought probably 2 years ago. Don’t even remember the name of it, but it lead me to create what I call “prayer envelopes” which I make thru my craft ministry at church and give out to cancer patients and the chaplains at the local hospital. And one of these days I’ll get to the doodling class I bought!

  3. Carol McFarland

    I’m so excited at the chance to be in your class because everything I have ever seen you demonstrate is so cool!I’ve been a doodler and a papercrafter my whole life, loving to try new things. Fingers crossed here!!!

  4. Valeri Caskey

    I am so sorry you had those technical issues with the comments. So glad art doesn’t have to be technical! And glad for journaling which can alleviate worries and stress! I was going to comment on Gouche Jumpstart that I am so excited to start this class. I bought the 3C Christmas stamp set and so far completed 2 cards with you. They are so beautiful and I had so much fun. Thanks!

  5. Kathy White

    I haven’t taken any of your online classes yet but took your shading class at Art ‘n Soul a number of years ago and follow you on YouTube and Instagram. You are such an inspiration and breath of fresh air focusing on creativity and not rules or judgement. Would love to spend time taking the Gratitude Journal class to help stay focused on gratitude.

  6. Brigit

    This sounds like fun. Of course I’d love to join you.

  7. diana mills

    I love art and Bible journaling. Yours are incredible and so inspiring. Thank you for your classes, I’ve learned so much.

    • Kris

      Please know that your work is appreciated! I try to take time for art, but with so many grandkids to watch, I have to be happy with watching you create! So happy God created you!

  8. Holly Zessin

    I love all the jumpstart watercolor and color pencil classes, I don’t copic. My technique improved so quickly working thru those classes and I did better with the results for other projects because of them.

  9. Debbie Anderson

    Sandy your classes are so great! I love working in my Bible Art Journal, which for me is more of a mixed media art journal with Bible quotes. I would love to join you for the gratitude journaling class.

  10. Susan King

    Sandy you are such an exceptional teacher and your classes are very user friendly! I am working on a few right now A Copic and also beginner drawing! They are both wonderful! I can not wait to start your bible journaling class now that I can use my Copics in my bible!
    Highly recommend Sandy to anyone who want to learn with the best teacher!

  11. Jeanne K

    I wanted to leave a review for Landscape Foundations: Watercolor Trees. I can’t recommend Sandy’s classes enough. She is an incredibly talented artist, able to use so many mediums, and a fabulous teacher. I find myself watching her videos many times to help me learn how to approach a subject. I’m in awe of her ability to create absolutely stunning pieces of art with so many variations. She really is a great teacher and can help you learn if you’re looking for super classes! I would tell anyone this who asked me to recommend someone to take classes from.

  12. Debbie Anderson

    I loved thos article Sandy. I wanted to post a review of the stamped watercolor jumpstart class that I took, but I could not see anyplace on the class to leave the review, so if you can point me in the right direction I will leave one. I discovered your you-tube channel about the same time I decided to learn watercolor. I took many of your free classes, then started purchasing classes. Along the way I discovered AI stamps and fell in love with them. Your AI classes helped me improve not just my stamped watercolor for cards, but all of my watercolor work. It is a fantastic entry point to get a feel for watercolor without much prep work or expense.

    • Sandy

      You’d go to the class page as if ready to purchase it then scroll down. There’s a tab to leave a review


    Thank you for writing this article Sandy. As an aside I just wanted to say that the colours you used in your Bible page (with the cross and joy) really spoke to me.

  14. Dottie James

    One of the best classes I have ever taken anywhere is your Bible journaling class. Spot on in every aspect. Another great class was the Copic class you did way back for Online Card classes. I think that’s when I discovered your blog. If my life had more concentrated time to spend on the lessons I would take many more. Some day soon….God willing.

    You are both a gifted artist and a gifted teacher. It’s difficult to explain how to draw and paint. You are masterful at it. I am inspired to create just looking at your work. In the midst of my cluttered life, most days just that visual inspiration gets me through to whenever my next creative time might be.

    All your giftedness is from the Lord and you honor him in the way you share your gifts with all of us. That’s the best definition of success there is. Thank you.

  15. Sheryl O'Sullivan

    I have watched so many of your videos, but I’m still in the “planning stage” of doing a class. I guess I’m both excited and nervous about it.
    The variety of techniques you use just blows me away. Is there anything you can’t do?


    I loved your comment about people’s expectations that all art journals must be created with Tim Holtz products. Thanks for the belly laugh!!!

    • Sandy Allnock

      It’s true right!?! I feel like I’m breaking ALL THE RULES when I don’t have the “right” stuff. But then it wouldn’t be my journal if I did it that way, lol!

      • Marybeth

        I laughed out loud at that comment too. I think Tim would think it is hilarious. There are no “journal police” and the whole point of art and journaling is to do what makes YOUR soul sing, not anyone elses.

  17. PennyH

    I’ve done several of your classes. I really like the watercolor classes. You explain and show things well and make it easy to try and be successful. I don’t always comment or try everything you do or demonstrate, but I always enjoy your videos. They are always so sunny, fun, and interesting. They are a little burst of joy in the week. I’ve learned lots of little tips and things that I take back and try. It’s always fun and your passion is always evident.

    • Sandy Allnock

      Thanks Penny! Glad you find them inspiring 🙂


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