When journaling with words just isn’t working, try journaling with color. Your brain has to think in words all day. Thinking in color can be a refreshing alternative. The joy of color journaling is a creative flow from heart to fingers, skipping the mental interruptions.



Simplicity is essential to moment by moment living. In keeping with this, I’ve picked a short list of my favorite color journaling supplies.

You’ll start with color, then give the project a day’s rest. When the words come, you’ll be ready to add them. Or not. It’s up to you.

Here’s your Supply List:

  • A medium notebook of heavier-than-normal paper is your basic. Or, you can use a pre-made journal, like Shanna Noel’s 100 Days of Bible Promises. That’s what I’ll be using.
  • A small bottle of Liquitex Clear Gesso.
  • A medium size paintbrush – nothing fancy.
  • A small container of Liquitex Matte Gel.
  • A small spray bottle with very fine spray – I use Tim Holtz’s Distress Sprayer.
  • Now my favorite part! Pick your colors! This is so fun. My top pick is Faber Castell’s Gelatos. There are so many amazing colors, with yummy sounding names, and they come in the cutest packaging. These little bundles of joy look like adorable chapsticks! Today I’m using their Pastel color palette, as well as my favorite shade from the Metallic palette – Metallic Icing.
  • When you’re ready to add lettering, you can use Sharpies, or my favorites – Faber Castell’s PITT Artist Pens. There are several different tips available, so choose a fun variety of size and color.
  • Paper towels for messy fingers!
  • Scrap paper or a craft mat.



First you’ll need to do a little prep work:

  • Grab your pad of paper or journal. Select the page you want to use and place your craft mat (or scrap paper) between it an the following page.
  • Open your Liquitex Clear Gesso and brush it across the page, covering completely. Don’t worry that it looks opaque. It dries clear, and any images beneath will show through.
  • Let it dry. This could take a few hours. If you’re in a hurry, use a hairdryer. But be sure it’s completely dry before you reach for the colors. Gesso’s purpose is to create a surface that can handle water, and to provide interesting texture for your Gelatos.
Prepping your journal page with Liquitex Clear Gesso, for texture and water resistance.



What is your heart yearning to express? You don’t need to know it in words. Simply using color to express emotion is enough. But if you’d like a little extra inspiration, I often use a Bible verse or theme that God’s been illuminating for me. The ‘Praise at All Times’ journal page caught my eye, so I’ll be using this devotional from Shanna Noel’s 100 Days of Bible Promises.

  • Keep that craft mat (or scrap paper) between the page you’re working on and the one behind it. Things are about to get messy!
  • Pick a few Gelatos you’d like to use. These colors will be your background. Don’t think of writing or drawing anything here. Think about shapes and chunks of color. Be free! Do what you want. Express yourself! I only have two suggestions …
  1. Leave a margin of blank white space between your blocks of color.
  2. If you choose not to leave space between your colors, then place colors that will blend nicely next to each other. You’ll be using water to blend, and getting browns or greys isn’t everybody’s favorite result. Reds and yellows and oranges go well together. Blues and greens make great neighbors too. You get the idea. Purple and orange – not so much (unless you are leaving that white border between them).


The joy of color journaling with Faber Castell Gelatos - colored smudges lay a foundation
Coloring with Gelatos after the Clear Gesso has dried. Leaving white spaces between colors.


Faber Castell Gelatos. Yummy pastel shades. Acqua Dolce, Strawberry, Kiwi, Guava, Elderberry and Caramel. Metallic Icing in foreground.



  • Once you’ve scribbled blocks and shapes of color, go back in with the Metallic Icing Gelato, and fill in the spaces you left blank, surrounding the colors. This leaves a lovely sheen which can be blended into. And look at the interesting texture left by the Gelatos in the picture below!
Pop in some shimmer with the Metallic Icing Gelato. Notice the beautiful sheen and texture.


  • Finished coloring? Great. Now, have those paper towels ready! Gently spray one of the page corners and use one finger to blend. Wipe your fingers often to avoid muddying the colors. When you want to blend the white spaces (which you filled with Metallic Icing), start with a clean finger and blend from the Icing color outwards. This will soften the colored edges and gives a pretty shimmer effect. Continue along the entire page, spraying areas and then blending.
A fine mist of water and then blend away!



All in all, have fun! No judgment! This is the process of expression.

How do you feel when you’re blending these colors?

How do these hues and pigments reflect facets of the word, emotion, or Bible verse you’ve chosen?

Enjoy, without trying too hard. That’s spoken to you, perfectionists. 🙂

  • When you’ve finished blending the page, take a break and let it dry. A couple hours should do it. Avoid over-blending. My own perfectionist tendencies incline towards over-blending. I usually regret it. Let it sit. Let it rest.
  • Once your page is dry, take the Liquitex Matt Gel, and paint a thin layer over everything. Try not to go back over stuff that much. Just get enough on your brush to do thin, broad strokes. Be sure to cover every nook and cranny. And, you guessed it! Let it dry. Give it a day.
Once dry, cover Gelato colors with Liquitex Matte Gel.



Wait until you feel ready to add words. When that mood strikes, sit down with your Faber Castell PITT pens (or your Sharpies), and slowly, contemplatively, begin to write what comes to mind. The colors, the Bible verse, the word from the Lord, the emotion, the feelings, the struggle, the questions … write. Play with different nibs and colors. Draw shapes or images, if you wish.

Adding words using Faber Castell pens with different tips (nibs). Brush tip, Fine tip and Bullet tip.


My finished expression, using the theme ‘Praise at All Times’ from Shanna Noel’s 100 Days of Bible Promises.



Thanks for joining me and sharing the joy of spreading color and light. It’s my hope that:

  1. the process was tactile, messy and fun!
  2. your final work is a creative snapshot from the heart.


What were some of your take-aways from this coloring experience? Share your feedback and questions below. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time – live free and breathe deeply.

– Ali ?


  1. Thanks for sharing this step by step — creative way to journal!!! Found out about products (I never knew before); and how to use/apply them to journal pages. ? Love how your finished page turned out.

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