Art journaling vs Bible journaling

Art journaling vs Bible journaling

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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Arriving at the inn: Christmas Bible Journaling

Arriving at the inn: Christmas Bible Journaling

Merry Christmas! Today I decided to share a little footage of the painting of a Christmas page…and there are two ways to watch it!

I was re-reading the Christmas story in Luke, and was thinking about how Mary and Joseph would have had a heck of a stressful Christmas Eve. Far more than those of us still shopping like mad! Trying to find a place to sleep, with a pregnant woman – and an uncomfortable donkey for travel! Yeesh! And in that day, Mary would have been side-saddle, which I never was able to do without falling off a horse, so….being pregnant I have no idea how she did it!

Anyway….here’s the first video. Just music, and sped up so it’s a little shorter, and keeping all the footage intact.

Watch on YouTube

Second way to watch: realtime painting (with some footage cut out), with a reading of Luke 1-2.

Watch on YouTube

A few tips on Tomoe River paper

This is a Bible-like paper – not exactly the same, but very similar.

  • Plan to trim. It’s of course larger than a Bible page, so note how big to paint so you can trim it down to the size you need. (Not all Bibles are the same size.)
  • Deal with paper warping. Most of the time a second layer of color can recover some of the “stripes” made by paint collecting in the low points in warped paper. Or tap with a baby wipe to sop up excess. Just know there’s going to be some texture from it.
  • No bleeding. Well, as long as you’re using a medium that wouldn’t bleed on Bible paper either!
  • Dry as you work. If keeping it taped onto a board, a heat gun or hair dryer will flatten the warping – no need to iron as I normally do when flattening Bible paintings.
  • Choose a tip-in adhesive. My preference is a very thin strip of doublestick tape; others put a tiny line of elmers glue in the gutter and slip the page in.
  • Round corners. I use the 1/4″ side of my Corner Chomper that makes the corners fit my Bible. A little snip with scissors can round them a bit too.

Last chance: signed books

Ellen Hutson has the last 10 of my books and workbooks that are signed – once they’re gone, they’re gone, unless I ever hear from my new publisher on how to order more! (I had to order 100 of each in bulk myself to supply them to small retailers, which was so weird….and am now out of those. Not having heard from the publisher who bought my contract in the last 2 years, I’m pretty much in the dark about getting more.)

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a blessed celebration, no matter what it looks like this year. Make room in your heart for Jesus!


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

New class: Watercolor animals for Bible Journaling

New class: Watercolor animals for Bible Journaling

A week ago I launched this new fun class on my Bible Journaling channel…but I wanted to be sure to get word out to blogland and my main YouTube channel too! See the preview of Watercolor Animals for Bible Journaling here:

View on YouTube.

While you might be able to learn to paint animals on watercolor paper from this – the class only teaches on Bible paper. If anyone decides to try these on watercolor paper, please do let me know – so I can tell people if you found it helpful on non-Bible-paper!

Flip-through my Bible journaling art

Flip-through my Bible journaling art

I’ve been asked by a number of people for a flip-through of my Bible journaling and how much art is completed by now. Today’s the day!

I also did a quick pass through of my books at the start, but then I just turn on music and start the page-turning. I hope this gives you a small respite in the craziness of Black Friday and all the holiday shopping to just relax and get inspired, and remember the reason for the season!

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

View on YouTube.

Just a few of my pages….feel free to browse the gallery on the book site.

Scripture Gifts Papercrafting Class

A bonus post today – whee! I was going to launch this tomorrow but….I’ll be in a drawing class all day. Launch days tend to be when stuff “breaks” and I like to be home for at least part of the day to avoid chaos! heehee.

This class is for my Bible journaling friends….using our mad skills as creative folks with lots of crafty supplies, and using them to make gifts. With Christmas on the horizon I wanted to get this one done to help everyone out! Here’s a little preview:

As always, the class is on sale for the launch – I might leave it on sale through the holidays just to make it easier for folks to make Scripture-themed gifts for that person who has everything!

I’ll be back on Sunday with a week of videos in the 24 Tags of Christmas series…stay tuned!