There is No Comparing! Rule Number One in Bible Journaling: A Talk with Karla Dornacher

Another guest post by Lisa Nichols Hickman!

Each week on “Journaling the Bible”, we’ll feature the story of creative and amazing individuals who have found hope and joy and strength in the process of Bible journaling. This week, we talk with artist Karla Dornacher who has a line of adult coloring books featuring her artwork.   Her most recent one Garden Blessings: Scriptures and Inspirations to Color Your World pairs scriptures with garden images.


Before Bible journaling – what was a joy and challenge in your devotional life?

The greatest joy of spending time with the Lord has always been getting to know Him better… and hearing Him speak personally and intimately to my heart… especially in the moments when it’s so unexpected… like when you’re struggling with something and you randomly open the Bible and the verses jump off the page with just what you needed to hear! Or you’re praying and a verse pops into your mind and you know, without a doubt, it’s God.

The greatest challenge of having a devotional life has always been letting other things sneak into my life and steal my time… all the normal too busy kind of things.

What ‘a-ha’ did you discover through Bible journaling? What did it feel like? How did it help?

I’ve been doodling in my Bible, art journaling, and illustrating God’s Word in a variety of ways for a very long time so I think my “aha” moment came the first time I saw an actual journaling Bible with wide margins on social media and someone creating art in the margins! I believe my heart skipped a beat and immediately did a happy dance! I ordered one right away and love it because it gives me another good reason to really read and delight in the God’s Word and another avenue to worship Him.

What tools are important to your journaling?

I’ve kept it pretty simple. I sketch my designs with pencil, ink them with micron pens, and color them with Prismacolor Premier pencils.

Often times I will sketch in a separate notebook… especially if I’m having a hard time visually seeing how I want to express myself or the layout of the words. After I’m happy with the design, I then transfer it either freehand or by tracing.

Someday I want to play with other mediums but right now happy with pen and ink and colored pencils.

What tips would you want to share about Bible journaling?

Bible journaling is all about spending time with God in the Word… hearing His voice and meditating on His Word while being creative in the margins… so just be you and don’t worry about being being perfect because nothing is apart from God! Oh yes… and no comparing yourself to others!

For instance… even though I love looking at… and am inspired by the scrapbook style of Bible journaling… it’s just not me. I’ve never scrapbooked… I don’t even own stamps. As for me… I am a designer, illustrator and hand-letterer… that’s who I am… so I personally love to hand-letter and illustrate the verses themselves. I also love to study the Word, so this style gives me time to really focus on the words of the verse, to meditate on it, talk to God about it, and sometimes even memorize it and hide it in my heart.

The great thing is that there is no one style that is better than another… and Bible journaling provides a wonderful opportunity for every artist… from beginner on up… to learn and grow and develop her own skills and style in creatively worshipping the Lord.


How has Bible journaling transformed your daily life – and the way you serve God in this crazy world?

I have been passionate about sharing God’s Word and encouraging other women in their faith through my art and hand-lettering for a long time. It has been both my full-time ministry and business for a lot of years now and I love how Bible Journaling has opened yet another avenue for me to do that.

I am a “keep-it-in-the margin” Bible journaler… again, it’s just who I am… and shortly after I started I realized it was the same format as the Bible Bookmarks I had been offering in my Etsy shop for years. So… I began to format my “margin art” into “bookmark art” and now offer them in my shop as digital downloads in both the finished color version as well as the Color-Your-Own version. This gives women the opportunity to either glue them directly into their Bibles or use them as traceables or templates.


I also offer free downloads for Bible Journaling through my FB page and blog. Being able to offer products that help women in their own creative relationship with the Lord gives me great joy and I am blessed by the relationships I have with this incredible community of Jesus-loving women!!

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