I love letters, I love doodling, and I love Jesus.

When I discovered that there was a Journaling Bible nearly 2 years ago, my life was changed. I didn’t grow up going to church or reading the Bible so when I became a believer 7 years ago, reading the Bible was hard for me so I just didn’t do it. When I saw that Shanna and Stephanie Ackerman were painting and sort of scrapbooking in their bible, I went that day and bought one. I HAD to get one… I started out by just lettering in the margins and using a little bit of watercolor and twistables to create and then I got a little more creative and started using paint all over the page.

I started with lettering in my margins because letters and words written pretty sort of “speak” to me. I will remember the way I wrote things down more than If I was just going to read a passage. If I read it I will forget it. If I read it and letter a verse, i will remember it because I will remember the way I put the verse together on the page and the flourishes and doodles and colors I used. Lettering the verses has changed my life and God has blessed my dream and business.

My second journaling bible, I noticed that I focused more on painting first and then going back to letter and that was ok. You can see by these pictures that you don’t have to be a pro “letterer” to get started.


This page was the very first entry in my third journaling bible and I love it because it is so simple with a splash of color. My emphasis was on the words more than the paint. My third Journaling Bible has more of a scrap book approach using more Stickers, Stamps, and Papers. This approach is super fun for me because I have always love to scrapbook. Adding my own lettering styles into it just makes it that much better.



Sometimes I get too carried away trying to make a pretty page so I can take a good picture for Instagram and then have to step back and think “Whoa, that’s NOT what this is about…” Creating in your Bible DOES NOT have to be perfect, you don’t have to gesso your pages (I think gesso has become a pet peeve of mine), and you don’t have to have the best art supplies. My pages are literally created with the cheapest supplies now just to prove it has nothing to do with the supplies and more about how to use what you have. The page above was created with a Faber Castell pen I already had ($3.50 from Dick Blick), a normal ink pen, and my Artist Loft watercolors which were $4.00. Focus on getting creative and messy which means some times there will be things that happen on the page you didn’t want but make that Oops into something else. Don’t focus on perfection or copying someone else’s page. If we all walked around copying someone else there wouldn’t be any originals and life would be boring.

Enjoy doodling, enjoy playing with styles, and enjoy the process of lettering and learning a new skill…Be proud of yourself when you find your own style and show it off. You were created an original, so create something original.


*If you’re interested in learning or improving your letters & flourishes, you can enroll in Valerie’s new online class for Illustrated Faith Hand Lettering 101 in the Print & Pray Shop! Click here to learn more!

  1. C. Anne 7 years ago

    I love your page. Brilliant colors and flowers :)

  2. Monika 7 years ago

    I giggle each time Valerie mentions gesso in her posts. It does seem to be a pet peeve. I never would have guessed one thing could be so controversial in this community but it really is love-hate lol!

    Thanks, Valerie, for sharing your story and how your journals have evolved. I am about six months into my first one and it is life changing for sure–I’m excited to see where the Lord takes me next on this journey. One question–when does a Bible feel “finished” to you–when have you moved on to new ones? Just curious.

  3. Melissa Malek Deloria 7 years ago

    Beautiful! I love how you talk about the styles of your Bibles changing. My scrapbooks go through similar “phases”. What type of Bible book tabs do you have? They, too, are gorgeous.

  4. Natalie Elphinstone 7 years ago

    Loved this insight and how your process has been evolving. And I especially loved the comment about making sure you’re not doing this just to take a pretty photo for Instagram. So true!
    PS. Your pages ARE pretty though ;-)
    PPS. I’m anti-gesso too ;-)

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