Watercolor Tutorial | Leaning In – Be Still

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still | Matthew 8:23-27

Greetings Beloved Illustrated Faith Family!

As I prayed about this month’s posts, I asked the Lord to place in my mind what He wanted me to bring to you.

He has been speaking Psalm 46:10 over my heart all month.

Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!

And as I have been studying the phrase “be still”, one of the places that the Lord took me was the story of Jesus speaking stillness to the raging waves around the boat carrying His beloved disciples.

Here is the story in Mark 4:35-41 NIV

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

And here is the story in Matthew 8:23-27 NIV

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

In both of these versions, the disciples were focused on the circumstances of the storm around them and the possibility of drowning.   They were afraid.   Human nature…am I right?

How often do we look at the storms of life around us and the fact that in our own strength, we can’t calm them or fix them?   And we freak out.  Panic.  And we wonder…does the Lord even see what is going on?

Here’s where the disciples took the right step, they called out to the Lord, they woke Him up!  They cried out to Him, “Lord save us!”  And the Lord stood up and spoke over the storm and the waves obeyed His voice.  There was calm.  And the disciples grew in their knowledge of who Jesus was.

I wonder if Jesus allowed the storm to see what the disciples would do.  I wonder if He wanted them to see with their own eyes that He was for them, their Protector, Refuge and Strength.  Maybe the blessing in the storm was knowing Jesus more.

Let’s lean in, make some waves, and journal truth.

 

Illustrated Faith Tutorial Blog Image

I love waves.  I love swirls.  I have been painting and drawing them for as long as I can remember.  I have painted them with acrylics, gouache, oils and colored them with pencils, pens, and inks.  But, by far, one of my favorite mediums for the curling waves is watercolors.  The transparency allows for layering and mimics the translucent qualities of water.   I pulled out my 2015-2016 Journaling Bible and flipped to another journaling page I had done with waves for inspiration.  Confirmation resonated in my heart… yep, time to paint some waves.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

I decided to journal in Matthew and to make my waves more green-blue this time.  I made my puddles of color and selected some brushes to experiment with.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

I don’t often prep my pages anymore, but this time I wanted to be sure I had a surface that would take some layers.    So I prepped my page with Dina Wakely’s Clear Gesso by squeezing a few drops onto the page and then smoothing the gel down with an Illustrated Faith paint card.   I used two thin layers and dried them in between with my Ranger Heat it tool.  I also slipped my Illustrated Faith Bible Mat behind the page to protect my Bible from the gesso.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

One drawback of prepping your page is the paper will curl.  Easy fix.  Just washi tape the corners of your pages to the Bible mat.  I like to use wide tape for a secure hold.  Love the new Illustrated Faith Books of the Bible Washi coming out soon!

I wanted the waves to be around the scripture detailing the story so I sketched out my vision on a separate piece of paper first.  I outlined the vision in black and slipped it behind my page to transfer the main lines of the waves.  You can see I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, but it is helpful to have a guide.  I find it gives me more confidence drawing the the delicate pages.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

I started with the darkest blue and stayed near my pencil lines.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

Another thing I love about prepping my pages is when you hit the page with your heat tool, it warms up the gesso layer, and it is fairly easy to erase pencil lines.   I do find it best to hold the area to be erased with my fingers.   White erasers are best for Bible pages.  I am using a Derwent Pen eraser but there are lots of white erasers that will work well.   Holding the area tight ensures that I don’t rip or wrinkle my page.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

Now, anyone who has erased on a page knows you are left with a mess of eraser shreds behind.    Two tips:  (1) always move your watercolor palette away from the area.  Shreds in your watercolors are an ugly thing!  (2)  Blowing on them sends shreds everywhere and trying to sweep them away with my fingers often ends up wrinkling my pages.   I discovered if I use a large soft paintbrush, I can sweep the shreds away gently.    You can use any soft brush with a larger flat head.  Even a cheap brush from the hardware store will do.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

After I have erased my lines, I add the next darkest color to my waves.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

I am using a water brush because I like the spring in the bristles.   It makes painting swirls easier and fun!  These are great on-the-go brushes too!

Next I add my green and I let the watercolors mingle a bit.
watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

After a good dry with my heat tool, I go back in and darken some areas with pure pigment.  You definitely could leave the waves soft.  Make them your own!  I used a wide flat brush to highlight the text.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

Next Up I grabbed my favorite letter stickers of all time.  Illustrated Faith’s Big and Bold and Homespun Alpha Hey Sugar Sugar and Black Eyed Pea.  The names alone make me smile.  I use these stickers A LOT so I often don’t have letters I need in the same style.  You can see I mixed up the letters in the word “Hush” — love the funky way this looks.  Unfortunately, I was missing an L for the word “Still”.  I really didn’t want to use another font here so I clipped the top of a T and whola…. an L.  You can also see I am laying out my stickers on a clear sheet of packaging first.   Yes… I am a Type A personality, working on it.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27
I adhered the letters to the page and added some white scribbly lines with a paint pen.  I find when I am working on top of watercolors the Uni Posca paint pen works well, especially when I want a thicker white line.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27I wanted to journal some additional words and wrote them out on a scratch piece of paper to be sure I liked the way they looked.  I wrote some of the words in my handwriting and decided to add Master with stickers to my page.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

Next up a tab.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

I chose “Rejoice” because I need to remember to rejoice that He has always got my back and that I will know Him more through any storm I walk.

Next a paper clip.  See a tutorial on paper clips here.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

Last, I added a date using an Illustrated Faith Point It sticker.

watercolor tutorial bible journaling entry by Amy Bruce | Leaning In - Be Still |  Matthew 8:23-27

I love how the page turned out, and I love building up a whole new Journaling Bible with truth.

Praying next time the waves threaten to pull me into fear and panic, I will try to remember to cry out to our Master and have the faith to be still, watch, listen, and know Him more.

Whether He calms the storms or He calms me, He is always working and He is always my Refuge.

Hugs,

Amy Bruce

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ESV Leather Journaling Bible |  Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Watercolor Set | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd Precision Pens | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Big and Bold Black Eyed Pea – Genesis Collection Kit | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Big and Bold Hey Sugar Sugar – Genesis Collection Kit | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Typed Hey Sugar Sugar – Genesis Collection Kit | Illustrated Faith Bella Homespun Blvd Black Eyed Pea | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Point It Stickers – Genesis Collection Kit | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Be Bold Bible Mat | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Bright and Brave Designer Clips | Dina Wakley Media Clear Gesso | Princeton Neptune #1 (large brush used to sweep eraser shreds) | Kuretake ZIG Watercolor Brush – Medium Tip | Princeton Select 1/2″ Flat Wash Brush | Derwent Eraser PenWhite board | Ranger Heat Tool | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Paint It Cards | Ribbon and Bakers Twine | Illustrated Faith Bella Blvd Basics Washi Tape Books of the Bible (coming soon) | Uni-Posca White Paint Pen 1M

8 Comments
  1. Profile photo of Audrey Strawberry
    Audrey Strawberry 2 months ago

    Love this! I also LOVE waves, the beach is Heaven on Earth to me. When I am there I think how AMAZING Heaven will be since the beach is my tiny comparison in my finite human brain. Anyway, love those waves and the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is still the Master of our storms!

  2. Profile photo of Lisa Paulsen-Rivera
    Lisa Paulsen-Rivera 2 months ago

    This is great. I love the message , the colors and the process.

    • Profile photo of Amy Bruce Author
      Amy Bruce 2 months ago

      Bless you Lisa for your encouragement!!!! Thank you for leaving a comment my friend!!!

  3. Profile photo of Sheryl in Florida
    Sheryl in Florida 2 months ago

    Thank you Amy for sharing this! I feel like God keeps telling me over and over to “Be Still”!! I thought years ago I had figured out why, and maybe I did and He is just telling me to do it again, just not sure. Definitely need to get in my bible, dig a little deeper, be in constant prayer, and most importantly, LISTEN! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and this message, it’s definitely for me. I just love how your page turned out, just gorgeous! I’ve got just about all of my supplies and about ready to dive in bible art journaling. I’m so looking forward to how God will use this form of studying and creativity to draw me closer to Him. Have a wonderfully blessed creative day!

    • Profile photo of Amy Bruce Author
      Amy Bruce 2 months ago

      Sheryl –

      I would so love to see what you create! If you are on Instagram be sure to tag me @designsbyamybruce

      And oh my I so hear your heart. I think the message of “Be Still” can be on repeat for many of us and each time it is with a bit of a different twist. God is always growing our hearts and trust in Him.

      Hugs my friend! and thank you for commenting!

      amy

  4. Profile photo of Melisa Hayman
    Melisa Hayman 2 months ago

    I LOVE THESE COLORS!!!! This style is similar to my own. I want to fill my Bible with bright, bold colors!

    • Profile photo of Amy Bruce Author
      Amy Bruce 2 months ago

      Yep, Bible Journaling sisters! Bright, Bold colors — tag me if you are on Instagram, I would love to see some of your journaling pages sister! Thanks for commenting!

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