Easter Bible Journal: The LIGHT After the Darkness

Are you going through a rough time, and struggling to hang onto hope for the future? This Easter Bible journaling tutorial will remind you that on the backside of a dark, messy situation, God will always bring a resurrection. And my friend, it’s going to be beautiful!

Easter Bible journal

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These are trying times we’re going through, y’all. As I write this, the whole world is in the midst of a pandemic, which has pretty much everyone’s lives turned upside down in some way or another.

So, this message of “having hope in the midst of the storms” is especially relevant in this moment. But, maybe for you, reading this right now, your valley looks different. Maybe it’s financial trouble, sickness, or job loss…but whatever it is, Jesus has promised you peace and hope!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (NIV)

He should know…after all, it was He who endured the painful realities of crucifixion, to bear the weight of our sin, and give us the gift of complete forgiveness and eternal life.

The Original Page: Love Ran Red, Sin Washed White

So, before I get into the Easter Bible journaling tutorial, you need to know the backstory…and I mean literally, the story of the backside of this page!

In 2016, on the night before Easter Sunday, I saw The Passion of the Christ movie for the first time. And I was SO moved by it, on the afternoon of Easter Sunday I created this page, to pour out what I was feeling. I used my ink spritzer to spray red Sharpie ink on the page, and wrote these powerful lyrics from Chris Tomlin’s “At The Cross”. Which was great and wonderful, and provides a stark reminder of just what Jesus went through for me.

Easter Bible journal - at the cross

I didn’t notice until some time later, however, that my heavy-handed red ink spray had shown through on the backside of the page. It didn’t actually bleed through—thanks to the two coats of clear gesso I put on the page prior to creating the art—but it did still show through strongly as a pink cross on the back. Not a huge deal, but still, it’s there.

Bible journaling cross

Fast forward to this week, when I was looking to do a new Easter journal page. As I flipped through the four gospels in my journaling Bible, I came across that pink cross showing through. And then the idea hit me…I should make a resurrection cross, that shows the beautiful redemption and message of hope that came out of the brutality and horror of the crucifixion.

Especially when I realized how perfect this message is, for the times we’re living in. I hope this reminds you, as it does for me, that on the flip side of the darkness we see in this world, God is working miracles. Satan may think he has us down for the count, but God always has the final say!

In Luke 24:26, the risen Christ was walking to Emmaus with two men who didn’t realize who He was. They were lamenting about how hopeless they felt, since Jesus had been crucified (they didn’t yet know He had risen). And one of the things Jesus said to these men, was this: “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” In other words, the suffering had to happen, before the resurrection could take place. Which is important for us, because the Bible says we too will suffer (for a time), before God restores us. (For more on this topic, see the book of Job, and also 2 Corinthians 4:17, Romans 5:3-5, and James 1:2-12, just to name a few).

So then, what do we do in the midst of suffering? Nobody likes it…I certainly don’t. But, as long as we’re in it, there are truths we can focus on…

  • We know from Romans 8:28 that God is always working for our good, and therefore we can look for the blessings God brings in the darkness.
  • 1 Peter 5:10 tells us that, though we may suffer for a while, God will restore us.
  • And best of all, is the hope we have for eternal life, where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

The bottom line: Because Jesus rose again on the third day, thereby conquering death, we have hope that every problem or crisis we face in this life can be turned around for good.

Bible art journaling

The Easter Resurrection Bible Journaling Tutorial

Now, for the tutorial… If you’ve ever had a Bible journaling mishap like this one, colored pencils are a great option to use on the backside of your original page. They have zero risk of bleed-through, so you can turn the back of the page into something beautiful, without messing up the original Bible journaling page.

Here are the steps I took to create this Bible journaling art, so if you want to something similar in your Bible, you can follow along…

STEP ONE: Draw a circle

I decided to make this cross a sort of Celtic style, with an orb (circle) around the center that would emanate light. And since I knew I would do a horrible job of drawing a circle freehand, I used a handy-dandy circle maker like this one. This way, the circle is perfectly round, easy-peasy!

NOTE: With the circle maker, it’s easy to avoid putting pencil marks on top of the cross itself. The circle maker moves (rotates) with your pencil, so just lift up your pencil a bit as you go over the cross, and then put it back down on the paper, then lift it up, then back down, and so forth, until you’ve finished the whole circle.

Bible journaling tutorial

For now though, we leave the circle in pencil, and go onto color the inside of the cross and the flowers…

STEP 2: Coloring the Cross (and some technique)

Now, before we start in on this part, I will say that it does matter whether you color light or heavy. Shading lightly, especially with a color that’s not too dark, won’t show on the other side. However, it is possible to color heavily enough that it may show through on your original page, depending on what art you already have on that side. So, just keep that in mind.

Thankfully, my favorite Prismacolor Premier colored pencils have a very soft core (the colored part of the pencil), so it’s easy to color lightly with them…you actually have to put in more effort (pressure) to color very dark with them.

Prismacolor Premier colored pencils

For the inside of the cross, I colored lightly in brown. But then, I ended up coloring back over it twice, because the brown of the cross wasn’t showing up well enough against the flowers(!) I also ended up creating a dark outline around the edge of the cross, to further distinguish it from the flowers.

STEP THREE: How to Create the Flowers

If you’re not already skilled at drawing different kinds of flowers, there are lots of books and tutorials that can teach you! I learned a lot of these flowers (especially the roses), from this Faith & Lettering book by Krystal Whitten. There is a whole chapter in the book about how to draw flowers, plus an additional chapter on how to draw wreaths too.

As for the coloring technique, I recommend using a range of light and heavier coloring, to give the flowers and leaves more definition (especially with the roses, I colored the outlines in red, and the insides in pink, just so it would be easy to recognize them as being roses and not another generic flower shape). But you can adjust based on your particular Bible page, and whether or not you care if a bit of color is visible (if only slightly) on the other side. In my case, I had to color heavily enough for the colors to show up well on top of the pink cross.

Bible journaling floral cross

To draw the flowers, just start with one, and then another next to it, and keep going like that. Alternate different types of flowers and different colors. Don’t forget to add leaves! If you need additional inspiration, you can always search Google for pictures of the particular flower you want to draw.

And definitely sketch out your ideas on a piece of scrap paper first, so you know what flowers might look best next to others, and how you might want to distribute them around the cross (in terms of size, type, color, etc.). You’ll feel much more confident (as did I), when you actually start coloring the flowers on your Bible page.

STEP FOUR: Finishing Touches

After completing the flowers, it’s time to color in the circle of light that we traced in pencil earlier. I colored it with a metallic gold pencil, and added rays of light on each side.

Then, I wanted to hand letter the words “God always brings a resurrection on the other side of darkness” in the margin, so I’ll be sure to remember this message of hope in the midst of darkness. (This is another area where the tips I picked up in the Faith & Lettering book come in particularly handy!)

First, I sketched the words in pencil (and believe me, there was a lot of erasing and re-doing in this step!).

Bible journaling with colored pencils

Then, I colored the words in with the same gold metallic color I used for the circle. After additional thought, I decided to add “And this pandemic is no exception!” after the date. Someday, we’ll look back on this and marvel at our awesome God who brought redemption even out of this terrible storm.

Bible journaling examples - floral cross

Easter Bible journal

✝️ Never forget that God always has the victory! No matter how dark, messy, or chaotic your problems are, they are no match for God’s power and sovereignty. The same God who rose Jesus from the grave, will turn your troubles into triumph too. Trust in His perfect will and divine timing.

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