Friday, July 17

Journaling by Heart: Lesson 3: Peter + Messy Script Lettering

Welcome back to Journaling by Heart, our free summer workshop for art journaling your faith. I hope you are diving in and experimenting and trying new things in your faith art journal. Most of all, I hope you are having fun.

I can’t tell you how much encouragement Melissa and I have gotten from seeing your work on the FacebookPage. Please don’t be shy. Be brave and post your work, your thoughts, your comments, and questions so we can do this together. You bless our socks off, so thank you!
Let’s get started. This week we’ll be journaling John 15:5 and writing with messy brush script {my favorite}


Let’s start with our scripture. We scheduled Romans 5:17 as our verse to study this week and I had a big long post written about what to do when you come to a big, long, hard to understand passage, and maybe I’ll share that with you  later, but I was in the shower this morning thinking about Peter.  And I can’t stop thinking about him {don’t worry, my husband knows} and how I’m just like him.

I’m so thankful for Peter. He is such an encouragement to me. And I was thinking about how he HAD to fail and fall flat on his face, so that God could make him the head of the church.
Let me back up a little bit. Remember right before Jesus went into the garden to pray, the last night of His life? {Read Matthew 26 here}. Jesus starts to tell his disciples how everything is going to go down, to prepare them. He tells them that everyone is going to be scattered and Peter corrects Jesus.

33Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

Let’s just stop there. I just love how Peter is always trying to correct Jesus. Don’t I do the same thing?
No, no, no Lord, here’s how my life is supposed to go. Let me tell you how it should all go down… 
And Jesus speaks truth

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

And then Peter corrects Him again:

35But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

I don’t think Peter was lying. I think he really believed that he could never betray Jesus.  
And then, the same night, after Jesus had been seized and questioned, Peter did exactly what Jesus said he would do. He denied Jesus three times.  Peter wept bitterly.

How devastated he must have been. That is the worst feeling in the world, when you hurt someone you love, and you can’t take it back and you can’t make it better.
How many times have I said,God I won’t fill in the blank, or God I will fill in the blank.

But God looks at me says, 
“Erin, of course you will. You’re human. You can’t do this on your own. You have to let me do this through you. I am the vine you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you willbear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

I love John 21, when Jesus comes to Peter on the beach after He has risen. Jesus gives Peter the chance to tell him how much he loves Him. A chance for forgiveness and reconciliation. Peter would go on to become the head of the church in Jerusalem.
God didn’t make him the head of the church inspite of his failings. God made him the head of the church because of his failings. He had to know, without a doubt, that apart from Jesus he could do nothing. {John 15:5}

He had to know the depths of God’s grace in order to be used by God. I am the same. I have to know that I can’t even attempt anything in my own strength, if I want to be used by God, if I want to bear fruit. 

God knows a will mess up a million times. He already knows I will go my own way.
He knows and will need forgiveness again and again and again. He knows He will need to pick me up and call me home.

The good news is, I feel like I’m starting to get it. Instead of starting my days saying, “Lord I will do this, this, and this…” I start my days saying, “Lord, I can’t do any of it without you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need your holy spirit for every single thing I do.”

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for Peter. Thank you that we can’t do this life without you. Thank you that it is only through failing in our own strength that you can use us, in your strength.  Thank you that we don’t have to do or strive or be anything apart from who you made us. In Jesus Name.

I hope that made sense! It made sense to me in the shower this morning.  Now, let’s move on to lettering.

Tutorial: Messy Brush Script Hand lettering

This is what I get asked about the most: How do you do your hand lettering?
The short answer: Lots and lots of practice. The long answer? Here goes…
Here’s what you’ll need:

Supply List

Your Faith Art Journal (See Week 1)
You can buy one or make one.
Acrylic paint
Really thin Paint brushes
Paper plates


I love writing in messy script. It is highly addictive. The secret to mastering messy script lettering is: ink, contrast, pressure, and practice.

Ink: First of all ink. Do not attempt this with acrylic paint. It won’t work. You have to use ink. This stuff is so delicious to use because it is so smooth and thin and opaque and yummy. You can find this at any craft store or order it on line here.

Brushes: Use a variety of brushes as you practice, notice the effect each different brush has.

Contrast: To make it look interesting, make your letters vary in size and spacing. Try to relax and not allow your letter to be too uniform.

Pressure: Lift up on your brush as you move your hand up in a letter. Press down on the brush as you move your hand down in a letter. Practice your pressure. Press down, lift up, press down, lift up, and repeat.

Practice: Lots.

Okay, let’s get started.
Pick your favorite verse & some scratch paper and start writing. Start with loops. Try big and small. Notice how the strokes change as you add and release pressure. Write some letters of the alphabet.

Write the same verse 10 different times. Try to make each time different in some way. Experiment with contrast and pressure.

Remember: It’s always okay to mess up. You have to make bad art in order to make good art. You have to! So, don’t be afraid to mess it up, that’s what we’re here for!


Step 1: If you have a journal made of watercolor paper, like mine {made here} paint a base coat of gesso both pages. 

Step 2: Add some blocks of color, not too many, only 3 or 4 colors.

Step 3: Use stencils to add texture to your page. If you don't have stencils use bubble wrap or any other textured items you have.

Step 4: Paint some branches.

Step 5: Paint some grapes.

Step 6:Paint some leaves.

Step 7: Add a border & some detail.

Step 8: Paint your brush script on top.

Step 9: Keep practicing! 


Practice messy script lettering on scratch paper.

 Create a journal page with script lettering.

 Share your journal with us on Facebook.



  1. It totally makes sense to me Erin, about Peter. I feel like I am just getting it too, that it's not about us, it has never been nor it will it ever be, about *us*. But it's just Him, His goodness, His mercy, His love, His faithfulness, His forgiveness, His power, His strength, all of that in us, by faith, through grace. God is so good.

    I cannot wait to try this lettering!! Thank you for the awesome tutorial!

    ♥ Melissa~

  2. Had SO much fun with this ... love your tutorials ... you and Melissa are AMAZING!!

  3. I just went and bought some black ink - and your right - it is MARVOLOUS!!! It is so smooth and I do much better with it ! THanks for the wonderful tip! I love your website - you've inspired me - I have made my own book from a children's book - it's all guessod up with paint and ready for me to journal in it:) I've done 2 pages - it's so fun!

  4. What did you use for the white lettering? I bought white speedball and noticed it's super pigmented acrylic. Is that what you used? What do you use for clean up of the ink? Thanks! Super fun!

  5. The vernal lesson will learn to the students. The students have to learn vernal topic as well. This will be the new function for the human being life through superior paper. It will to much happy for every aspect of the human being life.