Review: Complete Guide to Bible Journaling

I’ve had so much fun over the past week with the new book:  Complete Guide to Bible Journaling:  Creative Techniques to Express Your Faith by Joanne Fink and Regina Yoder.  Generally, I pick a Bible passage and then think about how to illustrate it.  With this book in hand, I picked illustrations that would be fun to trace and thought of a verse to go with the pictures, but I stuck to the book of Psalms for something of a theme.  What I discovered:  Spending time in Psalms, tracing images, and meditating on the Word is profoundly relaxing.  Illustrating a verse always helps me understand it better, but this experience was somehow different, maybe more peaceful.

If your journaling Bible is just sitting on your shelf, this book is a wonderful way to get your creative juices flowing!!!  The book covers many different artist supplies and techniques, features artists, provides a beautiful gallery of ideas, and best of all includes a bonus section of traceable images and stickers.  It’s great for beginners and has plenty of tips and advice for those with more experience, too.  It’s clear from the pictures below that my favorite part of the book was the bonus section!

I really like Joanne Fink’s simple patterned illustrations.  I can definitely see incorporating more of this style of drawing into my Bible journaling.  I love that she starts with simple easy to draw shapes and makes the picture look interesting with varied line widths and patterns.  It’s relatively easy to do.  You can find even more inspiration in her book called Zenspirations.

One item that I would highly recommend getting along with the book is a set of black micron pens in different widths.  I usually reach for my Micron .05s, but I found that that width was too thick for some of the images in the book.  (It will be more clear when you see some of the first pages I did below!)  I found that I was happier with the results when I used a thinner Micron .01 and added weight to the line as needed.

Here’s a few images from my adventures putting the resources to work in the pages of my Bible.  One of my hopes with sharing my art has always been to show progress and to show that ANYONE can Bible journal.  As I glance over the pages that I did after working with this book, I really can see some improvement.


The first page I did was quite simple.  I just traced the image with pencil and used a black Micron .05.  For this simple image, the .05 weight worked ok.  I may add color to this page at some point, but I kind of like it quiet and still.


I traced another image from the Bible, and this time added some color and some stickers from the book.  With this image, I really wish that I had traced the images with a pen with thinner weight.  I used the Micron .05 again, and it was just too thick!  The book includes several examples of lettering with complete alphabets.  In the page below I played around with the “Simple Monoline Mix”.  It feels so unnatural for me to let the letters bounce around the baseline, but it does create a nice effect.

Do not be discouraged if your traced image does not look as good as the original.  Even tracing takes practice!  Some pages don’t turn out quite as well as I hope, but adding stickers always makes me happier with the page.  All the stickers below are in included in the book.

And spending time in the Word is always good!  The Psalm begins:  “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good”, but then goes onto describe a number of really terrible situations where God responded to different cries of distress.  As I reflected on Psalm 107, I pondered the different ways that God responded to times of crisis both in this Psalm and in my own life, “God Answers Knee Mail.”  seemed to be the perfect sticker to accompany this Psalm.  There are times that drive us to our knees.  Still, we trust in God’s goodness.


A super simple page:  I just used a margin sticker.  What I love about this image is the reminder that while I play at being an artist God’s creation is truly majestic.


I doodled on a tip-in and added some stickers from my stash…


I always find the following verse to be reassuring.  It’s something I tell myself often whenever I start to feel worried; it’s good to know that God has us covered.  I thought the pretty illustration of the feather fit well with this passage.  I colored it with water colors and markers.  The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling also shows how to make your own handwriting look more fancy by adding weight to the downstrokes.


It happened to be my father’s 80th birthday over the past week, so I used some washi tape from the book to add his picture to my margins and doodled a little border following Joanne’s instructions from The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling.


The book shares several examples for how to illustrate Psalm 96:  “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.”  It shares pages with various themes:  music, singing birds, and also the earth.  I felt drawn to the cute singing birds.


I loved this butterfly.  I was trying to think what verse I could pair it with when my Pastor posted the paraphrase of Psalms 103:4-5 below on Facebook.  Both the verse and the butterfly spoke to me.  Here’s how it came together in my margins…


These pretty flowers seemed to fit well with a passage dealing with the ephemeral nature of humankind and the everlasting nature of God.



I was thrilled to learn how to color a beautiful gradient.  This is one of those artistic techniques that looks amazing and pretty easy to achieve.  I just could never figure it out before!  The instructions in the book are perfect.  As I colored this simple leaf while meditating on Psalm 6, which speaks to the experience of being inconsolable (the Psalmist talks about flooding his bed with tears night after night), I felt an assurance from God that those time where we can’t find our joy are much like the times when a tree loses its leaves.  It’s just a shedding that prepares us for a new season of life.


I knew that I wanted to place this tree next to a verse about steadfast love.  I was drawn to these words:  “Because your steadfast love is better than life.”


The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling is an incredible resource.  I improved some skills and had so much fun with all of the traceable images.  With a Journaling Bible, some micron pens, some colored pencils, and this book, you would be well on your way to a wonderful journey!


2 thoughts on “Review: Complete Guide to Bible Journaling

  1. Sally, so great to see how you used this! loved this and it has been a delight to be a part of Joanne’s book and as we dream about future encouragement will love for you to be a part!

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