taz + belly

Everlasting Love: Bible Process in Photos

09 October 2015

I had something completely different planned for today, but as I was working in my Bible last night I had a change of heart. I thought it might be better for you to see the clear steps that I take to complete a page. I used almost all of the same supplies from the Who Am I page, but took photographs of each step so you can see how I layer the supplies to get the finished look.


Pencil Sketch \\ First up is the pencil sketch. Using an inexpensive mechanical pencil, I drew a very light sketch of the verse I wanted to illustrate. Once I have a very general drawing on the page, I go back and layer more pencil to fully flesh out the letters until I like each form. For some letters, I add dimension to make them look like bubble letters. On others, I thicken the down-strokes for a "fake calligraphy" look and on others I leave them very simple letter forms.


Pen Drawing \\ Once I am happy with the shapes of each letter, I go back and draw them with a single pen line. Here I'm using a Staedtler, but the Illustrated Faith precision pen would work perfectly (mine are all out of ink)! I didn't worry too much about details, I just wanted to get the basic shapes of the letters drawn in ink.


Erase \\ Once the pen lines are completely dry, I erase all of the pencil lines with a white eraser. Several people mentioned to me this week they they are using a standard pink pearl and that they didn't even know white erasers existed! I'm going to call you lucky if you haven't had any colored residue on your page, but your day is coming. I definitely recommend grabbing a white one or at the very least, getting mechanical pencils that have white erasers.


Details \\ Now that all of the extra pencil marks are out of the way, you can see the letter forms much better. At this point, I start adding in some detail to different words and letters -- adding stripes, dots or just filling in some of the shapes in black.


Drop Shadows \\ Before I add any color, I like to use a grey marker to add drop shadows to all of my words. The markers don't work great over paints, so I put them in first! Just remember to decide where your light source is and be consistent on every letter. My "light" is always in the top right corner of the page, so I draw shadows to the left of and underneath each line.


Embellishments \\ Depending on what mediums I'm using and if I add an illustration, sometimes I'll fill in the negative space with some sort of embellishment. I decided on polka dots here and tried to vary them in size, filling some in and leaving others empty. I really like the movement that it gives the page and I feel like it looks so much more "finished."


Color \\ There are times when I like to leave verses in black and white, but I'm a huge fan of color, too! More often that not, you'll find me using these inexpensive watercolors to color my pages. Using an aquash brush, I filled in the bubble letters with some pastel colors and then used them again to add a wash of color around the verse. I wasn't too precise -- I just added concentrated color nearest my illustration and let the color bleed out the further away from the verse I got.


Tabs \\ I get lots of questions about how I make my tabs and if I tab every page and what materials I like to use best. It really varies from day to day, but YES I like to tab almost every page and I can use just about anything to make that happen. Since today's verse was about love, I pulled this plastic heart from my scrapbooking stash, along with the say it and word confetti stickers from the Illustrated Faith shop.


I just layered a few of the stickers on the heart - trimming at the edge when necessary - and stapled it right to the top of the page. It's hard to tell here, but the heart is transparent and I can even lift it up to read what's underneath!


All in all, this page only took about 30 minutes to complete (even though I stopped to take a zillion photographs) and that includes the time I spent reading the verses from yesterday's Jesus Calling devotion. It is a very simple page that packs a lot of punch - especially with the color wash and embellishments!


Next week, I'll share a video of a similar process before we move on to using other supplies. Any questions about today's pages? Sound off in the comments below.



Who Am I?

08 October 2015

Now that I've shared several posts about what Faith Journaling is and how to get started, I wanted to approach it from a more practical place. I don't always work from the same Bible Study -- I'm bad about being in the middle of several studies all at once -- so the days may or may not build on one another as we move forward. I'm six weeks into Beth Moore's David study and there is so much good on the pages of her workbook that I'll probably share many pages from 2 Samuel. We are also in the midst of a wonderful series at our church and I love reading short devotional guides from various on-line resources. I'm going to try and relax a bit where this is concerned and let God lead me to the place in His Word where he wants me to spend time each day and let sharing here be a by-product of what I'm already learning.

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The Point \\ 2 Samual 7:1-29

Every other Monday night, I meet with a local group of ladies for a time of Bible Study. Last Monday night (the day after deciding to join the Write 31 Days challenge) we focused on the sixth session from Beth Moore's David Study and I felt so strongly that it was the place God meant for me to start. We were reading in 2 Samuel 7 and David has just been crowned king over Israel. He is noting the contrast of being in a palace while the Ark of the Covenant sits outside beneath a tent. Nathan encourages him to build a house for the ark in verse 3 saying, "Go, do all that is in your heart for the Lord is with you." If you continue reading, God begins to remind David of his faithfulness over the years -- his faithfulness in his anointing, his faithfulness in his protection, his faithfulness in the fulfillment of his covenant. In verse 11, God finally tells David that even though he thinks he's going to build a house for God, it's really God who's going to build a house for David. And not just any house, but a royal dynasty - a legacy.

My favorite passage from this reading was verse 18, "Then King David went in a sat before the Lord and said, "Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?" David was so overwhelmed with all that God had done in His life and where he found himself. It's not hard to imagine that a shepherd boy didn't often entertain dreams of holding court in a palace. The place David found himself had little at all to do with himself and everything to do with where God brought him. Beth Moore goes on to say that "we can know we've come 'thus far' when we begin to make the shift from OUR plans for God to GOD's plans for us." When we find ourselves in places and situations that we could have never imagined in our wildest dreams, may we sit before the Lord, overwhelmed, and cry "Who am I that you have brought me thus far?!"

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The Process \\ "Don't be intimidated about HOW to document your faith. The important thing is that you're doing it." I must say this to my daughters hundreds of times a month. It's easy to get overwhelmed with art supplies and begin comparing your work with that of someone more talented than you are. They don't understand that I've been drawing and painting longer than they've been alive and that one day they, too, will have years of practice behind them. If I'm being honest, it's easy to fall into that place myself. I know what skills I possess and Who gave them to me, but there are plenty of more talented painters and more scholarly writers and more spiritual thinkers. If we get caught up in the comparisons, we will miss the point of connecting with the scriptures.

I wanted to start with some really simple products to show you that Faith Journaling doesn't have to be hard to be beautiful. I had already drawn a few boxes around a few pieces of the scripture that I loved. Using watercolor paints and these aquash brushes, I added a light wash of pink paint to the background of the page (with a piece of plastic behind to protect the other pages of my Bible), taking care to paint around the boxed scripture so that they would remain uncolored. I used three different colors of pink, working from lightest to darkest and letting the colors layer over one another. You can let watercolor air-dry, but I like using a hair dryer to speed the process along! I knew I wanted to use these white stickers to spell out "Who Am I?!" in the margin, but I was short a few letters. Taking a cue from an artist that I love, I drew in the missing letters and let the color of the background show through the outlines for those letters. They aren't perfect, but I like the combination of the two working together. I used a pigment liner to outline the letters, imperfectly, because I don't like to pretend that my pages are going to end up perfect. I used patterned paper and stickers for the tab at the top and some leopard print washi to embellish the edges of the page. This was a very simple process and only took about 15 minutes start to finish.

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Any questions? Sound off in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them all! I'll be sharing another page with ink and watercolor paints tomorrow and next week I'll begin to share some process videos to help you understand better how it all comes together. 

thirty-one days. a writing challenge every october, every day.

My Favorite Journaling Supplies

07 October 2015

When people see my Bible for the first time, I almost always hear "How did you do that?!" followed by "Where did you get your Bible?" and "What supplies do you recommend?" I shared a video of My Favorite Journaling Supplies way back in March, but I had only been journaling for a few weeks and still had so much to learn! Now that I have been actively illustrating my Bible for almost nine months, I wanted to share an updated list of supplies. It worked out perfectly that I'm talking about my Bible all month long.

Remember, you can use as many or as few of these supplies as you can afford! Don't stress over spending money and don't ever let yourself wait to connect with the Word until you have the "right" supplies. These are just suggestions for those of you who might be looking to add a few new art supplies to your arsenal.
My Favorite Bible Journaling Supplies

1 \\ Single Column ESV Journaling Bible by Crossway Books: I didn't do much research before buying my first Bible, but I'll admit that I got really lucky. I ordered this one from Amazon before Christmas last year and my only requirements were a single column of text and soft binding. I like having the text in a single column because it makes for easier reading and I like the way it looks when I highlight or point out my scripture references. While a hardback Bible might provide a good surface for writing, I like the flexibility of the leather binding. No matter how much I add to my Bible, it grows and expands with every page.

2 \\ Mechanical Pencils: This is one of those supplies where the brand or cost doesn't really matter, but I much prefer pencils with replaceable lead to those I have to sharpen! I usually pick mine up in the dollar spot at Target, but these work just as well. 

3 \\ Pigment Liners by Staedtler: Not all pens are created equal. I've tried all sorts of pens, by different manufacturers, in different sizes and these are the best. This set comes with various sizes (the 0.1 and 0.5 are my favorites), writes so smooth and doesn't bleed or smear. They write well over both acrylic paints and watercolors and don't fade over time. They aren't as inexpensive as some other options, but they last forever and are well worth the investment.

4 \\ Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils: I have several sets of more expensive colored pencils, but I always come back to the box in my daughters' art bin. I love never having to sharpen them and the perpetually dull point makes shading and blending a dream. They only cost a couple of dollars and you can get anywhere from 10 to 48 different colors in a package!

5 \\ Signo Uniball Gel Pen in White: I'll admit that I'm still not in love with this pen, but of all of the white pens I've tried, it is definitely the easiest to work with. You might wonder why you even need a white pen, but I love writing over dark paints and highlighting illustrations using this guy. It will smear until it's fully dried, though, so be careful.

6 \\ Prismacolor Marker in 30% Cool Gray: This was one of the first "extra" supplies I picked up after sleuthing other journalers Instagram feeds. This marker is perfect for adding drop shadows to your lettering and illustrations. It makes a graphic punch and really helps your work jump off of the page, especially on a white background.

7 \\ White Eraser: Don't make the mistake of erasing with a colored eraser. You might get lucky and have no disasters, but you just might have a cloud of pink eraser residue left on your perfectly illustrated page. I always recommend a white rubber eraser when working in your Bible. You never have to worry about any unwanted color on the page and they work so much better than other erasers.

8 \\ Distress Markers by Tim Holtz: These are definitely a splurge, but one that I recommend if you have the extra funds. They are water soluble, meaning they WILL react with water, even after they are completely dry. Think of them as watercolor paints in a pen. You can use them like a marker and color just like you always do, or you can add a water brush to make them more painterly. The manufacturer has a great video to show you all the ways to use these amazing markers. Just be sure to store them horizontally so neither of the nibs dry out!

9 \\ Washi Tape: Need I say more?! Who doesn't love this removable, pattered tape? If you haven't discovered washi tape for yourself, you can stalk the dollar spot at Target or check out the more expensive options in their stationery aisle. There are countless sizes and patterns on Etsy, but be prepared to get lost down a rabbit trail. Washi is perfect for adding embellishments, creating flags and marking the edges of your pages.

10 \\ Martha Stewart Craft Paints: You can use any acrylic crafts paints that you like, but the Martha Stewart paints come in the most beautiful colors and I'm a sucker for their pretty packaging. I've tried heavy body paints like Liquitex and Master's Touch, but I always come back to these. You can water them down a bit and create a color wash or paint with full strength for more drama.

11 \\ Catalyst Paint Wedge: Not comfortable using a paintbrush? This wedge by Catalyst makes putting paint on your page a dream. Just add a small dot of paint right on the edge and drag the tool across your page. It helps you lay down a very thin layer of paint to your pages and dries in seconds. If you don't feel like committing to tools, you can always use an old gift card or credit card in the same way.

12 \\ Watercolor Paint: I was a latecomer to the world of watercolors, but it is quickly becoming my favorite medium. I started with a more expensive set from Hobby Lobby, but this set by Artist's Loft can be found at Michael's for LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS. If you only buy a single supply I've suggested, this should be the one. The colors are beautiful and they don't bleed at all.

13 \\ We R Memory Keepers Tab Punch: I love using this paper punch to create tabs at the top of my Bible pages. You can punch cardstock or other heavy paper for a single tab or fold thin paper in half and make a tab that folds over and can be used on both sides. The tab punch comes with clear plastic stickers to protect your tabs and while I really like the way they look, they are a bit heavy for thin Bible pages. I've had a few pages rip under the weight of the tab covers, so I recommend saving those for another project.

14 \\ Patterned Scrapbook Paper: I love using double-sided scrapbook paper for tabs and tip-ins. You can usually find smaller packs that cost less and are perfect for this kind of project.

15 \\ Rolling Date Stamp: Remember when I told you to date your pages? Yes, you can easily write the date on the page of your Bible (I still do that sometimes), but I love using this date stamp in the margins, too. Studio Calico has a really cool oversized one that I've been dreaming about, but it's currently out of stock.

16 \\ Black Ink Pad by Staz On: This is my favorite ink for stamping and the only one I use in my Bible. It is pigment based, so it doesn't bleed or smear when used over (or under) paints and water. I would recommend taking the clear plastic cover off and letting it sit on your shelf for a few days before you use it in your Bible. The ink is very heavy when you first open the package and might bleed through your pages until it dries out a bit!

thirty-one days. a writing challenge every october, every day.

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WHY Illustrate My Faith?

06 October 2015

You may be thinking all of these pages are pretty, but WHY do we need to illustrate our faith? I'm not foolish enough to think that faith journaling is the key to every woman's relationship with Christ, but I do think there are many woman out there struggling with a way to connect and this might be the very thing their prayer life is missing.


Way back in November of last year, I saw my first illustrated Bible page on someone's Instagram feed. I was wholly intrigued, but it didn't seem to be a "thing" yet and I didn't pay much attention. Later in the month, I was shopping around for a new Bible. I had made the transition from a study Bible to a smaller one several years before, but it didn't really stick. I missed the commentary, but most of all I missed the high-lights and notes I had painstakingly written in the margins for most of my married life. I thought back to that beautifully illustrated Bible and wondered if I should pick one up because of the wider margins and just transfer my notes into something new. I continued this process throughout December and January, but it wasn't until February that I finally picked up a colored pencil.

For those of you who don't already know me, I grew up in a very creative and talented household. My mom can sew or craft just about anything you can dream up. My dad is a talented carpenter and has made some of the most beautiful furniture and gifts for our family. My little sister is a professional photographer and she isn't the only one who went to art school -- I studied lithography and graphic design for four years and despite my job in the legal field, I don't regret that creative time in my life one bit. There was never any pressure to get a degree in something more practical. My parents encouraged our love of the arts from a very early age and it was always a given that we would both pursue those dreams after high school graduation.

Somewhere along the way, life interrupted my creativity and it had been a really long time since I put pencil to paper. There were boxes of art supplies in the basement and in the closets of my childhood home, but it had been so long since I used them that I had no idea where to even begin. I started sketching small things in the margin after church and before I knew it I was passionate about the connection between art and scripture. It came fast - I jumped in with two feet and I haven't looked back since. I even vlogged about the heart of the matter way back in February, after only just having started.

Faith journaling may not be for you, but there IS a way that you were created to connect with scriptures and if you don't already know what that is, I encourage you to walk alongside me this month and see if even a hint of what I'm saying appeals to your heart. We were knit together by the most creative being in existence. He gave us the desire to express ourselves and share the deepest parts of ourselves with one another. He created us to create.


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