Various Art Mediums in the Crossway ESV Single Column Journaling Bible

Various Art Mediums in the Crossway ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (4)

Number three in the various art mediums series. This time I’m experimenting in a Crossway ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black). A comparable Bible is available in other translations from Holman, Nelson and Zondervan with the same paper quality and the side column for journaling. (the lines in the margins are different depending on publisher)



Revelation 21:5 is done with colored pencil. Colored pencils always work well but even they show through a little in this Bible. I’m including pencils in every Bible review and medium post not because I think there is a chance they won’t do well but because I like working with them and I know they are the most widely used medium. It also gives a nice reference point, if you know how much pencils show through it can help you decide if the extra show through is worth it to use other mediums.

I’m really pleased with how this nest turned out. The lettering is a different story; part of me wants to go back and clean it up (especially since I got my daughter some eraser shields and they should make it easier) and part of me wants to leave it alone.

Pastels, Pigma Microns, and Gel Pens

You might of already seen this one from my step-by-step post a couple of weeks ago. It’s gel pens and Pigma Microns over pastels. There is definitely show through with both types of pens (especially where I tried to draw thicker lines using a thin tipped Micron pen.) Edit 7/26/16 – The Micron pen actually bleeds through but it’s because I overworked the areas. Any pen will bleed through if you do that.


Stamps, Ink, Watercolor, and Gel Pen

This is two different stamps (“Rejoice in the Lord”, and “Rejoice” with the sunrise) over watercolor with the rest of the words done in gel pen. I gessoed the bottom 3/4ths of this page so I could see if it was necessary under ink. I really like how well the gesso reacts with this paper. I’ve had only minor crinkling even when I tried to gesso an entire page. The ink does show through more without the gesso but not too bad. I filled in a little bit of the light blue at the top with colored pencil because I was afraid to get it too wet when the nongessoed part of the page turned almost transparent with the first swipe of watercolor. (luckily it dried fine)


Watercolor, Calligraphy Pen, and Pigma Micron

This is watercolors on gessoed paper. I did the larger lettering with the smaller end of my calligraphy pen. I was going to use my standard Inkjoy black pen for the smaller lettering but it would not write well over the watercolor. I ended up using the Pigma Micron and drawing over the lettering I’d already done in ball point so it would look almost the same. The lettering had to go on top of my watercolor because the calligraphy pen runs if you add paint on top of it but writes very well on top of the paint. I made sure to use my lighter pigmented set of watercolors since I was going over the words already printed in my Bible. (the first time I’ve been brave enough to attempt that.) On the back the color on the outer edge of the page is where I painted all the way to the edge of the paper and some of the paint (I was keeping my watercolors very wet since I wanted them to be transparent) slid along my plastic shield and got on the back of the page. I obviously didn’t gesso well enough along the binding but I’m not sure why I have the blue bleed through near the middle of the page. I used two thin coats applied with a foam brush and thought I’d covered the entire page well enough. Edit 7/26/16 Leaving the page too wet, for too long is the main reason for the bleed through. I’ll be coming back to this bible in a revisit post in August and demonstrating some different techniques for watercolor and stamping that should work better with Bible paper.


Acrylic Paint and Gel Pen

This is the No Gesso required acrylic paint (without gesso underneath) with gel pens and metallic pens on top of it. Not only does the paint not bleed through very much, but it apparently stops at least some other inks from showing through as bad when it’s underneath . (of course part of that could be how dark the paint is here.)  It’s worth noting that this paper will get semi-transparent (and seem like your bleed through will be horrible) while it’s wet but usually turns opaque again as the paper dries. This happened to me with both the gesso and the acrylic paint.

I wasn’t sure at first about putting this much dark paint in the margin of my Bible but I actually really like how this turned out for something so simple to do. I used mostly Ultramarine Blue mixed with some white and a (very) little black for the night sky applied in kind of a crosshatch pattern. The stars are just dots of metallic ink. For the larger ones I put a larger dot and left the pen there for a minute to build the ink up a little then I used the end of an unfolded paperclip to draw a little of the ink outward in several spots to try and make them look twinkly.


If you want to know exactly what products I used for these pictures: (the clickable ones are affiliate links)
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black)
Prismacolor Soft Core Colored Pencil, 48 pack
Artist’s Loft Soft Pastels – 36 Piece (I think I got mine at Michaels Arts & Crafts)
Show-Offs 1/2″ Upper and Lower Case Alphabet Stencil – Funky (I got mine at Hobby Lobby)
Pigma Micron Inductive Bible Study Kit 8pk
LolliZ Gel Pens 48 Gel Pen Tray Set
Illustrated Faith Journaling Bible Mat
Crayola 24 Ct Washable Watercolors
Stampibilities Mini Ink Pads – Set of 12
Inkadinkado Good News Clear Stamps
Apple Pie Memories Stamp Blocks – 3PK
Prima Marketing Art Basics Gesso, 8.5-Ounce, Clear
hampton art Calligraphy Marker – Black (I think I got mine at Walmart)
Pro Art 6 Well Rectangle Plastic Palette Tray
CaseMate Metallic Marker – Gold

If you would like to read a review of this Bible you can go HERE.

I missed the alphabet stencil when I was gathering items for this picture. I’ve purchased my art supplies at a wide variety of places over the years. Currently Amazon is my favorite for convieniece (delivered right to my door with 2 day prime shipping) and Hobby Lobby is my favorite for deals (you’ve got to love 40% off any one item that’s not on sale with their app or a downloadable coupon) but I’m always looking at art supplies anywhere that carries them. I’m hoping to purchase some new pens for lettering and maybe some Faber Castell gelatos soon

Do you have one of these Bibles? Do you have any tips for working with them? What is your favorite pen for lettering? What additional art mediums or techniques would you like me to start including? How do you know when you have the entire page coated with gesso? Where’s your favorite place to find new art supplies? What other Bibles would you like this kind of post for? Please let us know in the comments.

About The Author

Lucinda Brown

Homemaker, Pastor's Wife, and former homeschooler (my kids graduated). I love to read (especially God's Word) but am a reluctant writer. Besides reading I enjoy cooking, gardening, and a large variety of crafts. I don't consider myself an expert at any craft and am always finding new crafts and art mediums I want to try.


  1. Bec

    I am puzzled why they don’t make the paper thicker if intended for art purposes?

    • Lucinda Brown

      Good question.
      Some journaling Bibles weren’t actually intended for art purposes (lots of people just enjoy using them that way.)
      Most Bibles publishers are trying to find the right balance. While they would like to give us thick paper that works well with everything and never shows through (especially their own ink) paper like that can make the Bible larger, heavier and more expensive.

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