ESV Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition Review

ESV Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition was designed specifically for adding your own artwork, thoughts, prayers, and notes next to your favorite verses. It includes over 500 illustrations by artist Dana Tanamachi. It’s available in hardcover, imitation, and premium leather. I’m reviewing the premium leather, ISBN: 9781433564147, printed and bound by R. R. Donnelley and Sons. It comes in a sturdy 2-piece box.

Crossway provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

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This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Thrift Books

and many local Bible bookstores

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Cover and Binding

The cover is top grain leather. The grain is embossed but it looks elegant. It has a pebbly look and feel, and it’s flexible without feeling too floppy. The edges are glued and include an embossed line around the perimeter. The front has a title graphic printed in gold. The spine has four raised ribs with graphics and the ESV text printed in gold.

The liner is edge-lined leather. It breaks in easily enough and has no trouble staying open in Genesis. The text-block is Smyth sewn. The overall size is 6.75 x 9.5 x 1.75″ and it weighs 3lbs, 4.4oz. It includes 2 long and thin black ribbons and gold and black head/tail bands.

Paper

The paper is 42gsm and it’s cream in color. It isn’t overly yellow, but it’s not close to white either. I like this shade of cream for Bible paper. It isn’t so dark that it affects contrast, so it’s great for reading, and it’s a good color and thickness for artwork or notes. This feels like premium paper and it’s more similar to an expensive Bible than a journaling Bible.

Typography

The text is presented in a single-column paragraph setting with very few section headings. Highlights such as the book name, chapter and verse numbers in the header, page numbers in the footer, and chapter numbers in the text are printed in gold. It has 2″ outside margins for artwork.

The typeface is Lexicon Roman A, 9-point in black letter. It’s dark and sharp. The text is printed with line-matching to improve readability. It has around 14 words per line. This is excellent for both prose and poetry. Each book starts with an ornamental drop-cap and a small illustration above the title. The text is a joy to read from.

Art and Margins

Every page with text has a 2″, non-lined, margin for art and notes. Many of the margins include illustrations. The illustrations are by Dana Tanamachi. It includes 64 full-page book introduction illustrations, 50 full-page verse illustrations, over 250 margin illustrations, and over 100 other illustrations throughout the Bible.

They’re printed in gold and they look elegant. They do include a lot of floral artwork, but also has a lot of letter-work. The art has a gender-neutral design. I do think it will appeal more to women than men, but men could use this if they wanted.

Being able to add your own art is great for those who are visual-learnings or prefer to express themselves artistically. If you prefer lines then you might not enjoy drawing in this edition.

Index of Title Page

In the back is an index that shows every book’s introduction illustration. It also shows the name of the book and gives a description of why the illustration was chosen. They provide a Scripture reference to show where the choice came from.

Conclusion

The ESV Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition is an interesting Bible. The leather cover looks and feels elegant, but the gold print isn’t for everyone. The paper feels more like a premium Bible than a journaling Bible. It feels more like a premium wide margin Bible in a single column. The print quality is dark and easy to read. The gold artwork is gorgeous. I found the gold a little difficult to photograph (at least from some angles – depending on the lighting).

I had considered using this for preaching or study, but once I saw how many drawings there were in the margins I decided that it’s better suited for artwork. There’s plenty enough room to add your own artwork. You can get notes in there, but there are a few verses that don’t have margin space due to the artwork that’s already there. Still, you can write prayers, notes, thoughts, reflections, etc. It’s great for interacting with God’s Word. Those who like single column editions for preaching will prefer Crossway’s Preaching Bible. I recommend the ESV Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition to anyone interested in a journal edition with a premium feel.

_________________________________________________________

This book is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Thrift Books

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Crossway provided this Bible in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there's also that author thing.

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