How I created the art for my book, “Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional”

I have been wanting to do a blog post like this since before my new book, Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional, was even released. Today, I’m finally going to share the step-by-step process (with pictures!) of how I went about creating the art for my book.

Journaling

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If you’ve been following me along in this project or have seen my video, you know that this started as a personal project. I didn’t originally intended for this to become a book, so it all started in the pages of my journal. In the beginning, I didn’t take notes beforehand (as you can see on the left page), but as the chapters got more content heavy, I needed to plan more or else I knew I would run out of the room on the page before finishing!

Scanning

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After posting the first few pages of my “Romans project” I received an overwhelmingly positive response from so many people on social media and through friends and family I ran into while out and about. I was working on Romans 4 when I decided I was no longer just doing this project for me and Jesus alone. However, finishing this personal study of Romans right in my journal was important to me, so I decided to finish the art this way before recreating it for the book. When I finally made it through all 16 chapters in my journal (this took about a month), I scanned each page onto my iPad.

Prepping the journal pages for tracing

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Once the art was scanned onto my iPad (using an app called Procreate), I would size each page to a template I made, so all the pages would be the same size and all the titles would be positioned in the same spot. Pictured below is what that guide/template looked like:

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I would line up the first and last journal lines with the blue lines shown and the titles would be dragged and repositioned to be in between the pink lines at the top. Once the page was positioned as it should be, I resized some of the hand lettered sections if they were too squished on the page or didn’t look balanced (shown below):

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As you can see, I shifted things ever so slightly, within the page. This really helped the art look more balanced. That wasn’t always easy to plan for when I did this with an actual pen in my journal.

Tracing

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Once all the slight formatting adjustments were done, I was ready to start tracing the art. Like Adobe Illustrator, in Procreate, you can create multiple layers, adjust the opacity and show or hide these layers. I brought the opacity way down, so I could see my original artwork, but could also see clearly the new art I was creating with my Apple Pencil on a new layer.

Even though the journal pages were recreated digitally, they were still completely done by hand. The Apple Pencil is pressure sensitive, so it is very much like using a real pen.

Finalizing

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Each page averaged on 11.5 hours (yes, I timed all 16) and once I was satisfied with how it looked, I would save it to my computer and back it up in multiple places. My fear of losing hours worth of work was oh so real and thankfully I never did (always back up your work in at least two other places! Mine is saved to my computer when it’s in progress and also to a flash drive and Dropbox forever).

I could have just uploaded these pages to BookWright (the program I used to format the book’s content page by page), but because I used ESV Bible verses mixed with personal thoughts and paraphrases, I had to add some markings to differentiate between the two for copyright reasons. I added these little gray * symbols in Adobe Illustrator (not pictured), which was very time consuming, but also very important!

Getting the art into the book

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Like I mentioned in the last section, I used a program called BookWright to upload all my art and typed content to make it all into, well… a book! I did my printing through Blurb and was very happy with the customer service. Self publishing is scary, but my rep was so helpful and very easy to communicate with (shoutout to Melissa)!

It took three proofs until the printing looked the way I wanted it to, but once I got that third proof, I was so pleased with how it all looked and got the first run of copies ordered. I was excited and proud to see it all come together so beautifully and I couldn’t wait to get the rest of the copies shipped to me, so I could ship them all over the world!

All done

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The rest of the copies came in the mail just in time for the release date and they looked even better than that final proof from Blurb! At that point, I could finally sit back, relax, and celebrate one of the biggest accomplishments of my life so far.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the thought, love, care and work that went into creating this book. If you’re interested in purchasing your own copy of Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional you can find it at my Etsy shop!

Thanks for following me along in this amazing self publishing journey!

❤ Lauren

Christmas gift ideas and sweet deals!

Hey there, friends! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful time with loved ones yesterday and are starting your holiday season off right today!

Sweet Deals

This weekend I really wanted to get in on the excitement, so I’m offering free shipping and a free gift with every purchase now through Monday (11/27). The free gift is a special Christmas PDF download you can print and display at home or even get printed on cards to give out this holiday season! I’m really excited about it and I hope you are too. 🙂

To help you with your shopping…

I know shopping for everyone in your life can be tricky at times, some people being more difficult to shop for than others, so I’m sharing a few ideas with you today on what you can get from my shop and who in your life is likely to be interested in those things (based on who has purchased the items so far).

So, here are my three best ideas, who to give them to and what else they could be gifted with (click the photos to be directed to their individual listings on Etsy):

FullSizeRenderMy brand new book, Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional

Perfect gift for: Everyone! But, especially friends, parents, wives, young adults, teens, pre-teens, teachers, people in your Bible study group, spiritual mentors, etc. (Contact me directly for orders of 15 or higher and I can offer you a discount!)

Gift it with: One of my Romans 8 prints, one of my “Thankful” card packs, and/or a 5×7 print.

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Any 5×7 print – the perfect stocking stuffer!

Perfect gift for: Friends, co-workers, moms, wives, young adults, teens, pre-teens, teachers and women in your book club, small group or any other kind of group you might be a part of.

Gift it with: A cute frame, stand, or fun binder clip(s) to use for hanging.

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Romans 8 print

Perfect gift for: Friends, new homeowners, newlyweds, parents, grandparents, teachers, your small group leader, a spiritual mentor, etc.

Gift is with: A frame (I got this one from Target).

Click HERE to shop all the things!

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If you’d like to have something custom made in time for Christmas, please send me a message through Etsy by December 5th. I can’t guarantee Christmas delivery for custom orders after that time. I hope to hear from you soon!

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Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional // Available Now!!

Today is the day!

My brand new book, Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional, is now available! You can purchase the book by clicking HERE.

In this short video, you’ll hear about why I created this book and how it will open your eyes to the impact a little creativity can have on your walk with Jesus.

For those of you who want to hear the extended version of the story behind my book, buckle your seat belts!

I started creating the art for this book at the end of June and at the time, I didn’t even know God had plans for me to turn it into a book. Writing a book was something I added to my high school bucket list years ago. It was that item I never thought I would actually check off. I’ve been joking with people, “Well, I wrote a book… check that off the bucket list! Time to travel the world!” Maybe the book will make me a New York Times Bestseller and I will! (Am I dreaming too big??)

Even though it is quite unlikely that that will happen, I have learned through creating this book not to underestimate God’s power and His plans for our lives. You just don’t know what He has in store for you most of the time. He has proven that to me time and time again and somehow I always forget. I’m thankful He used this book to remind me, yet again, that He has mighty plans for us and we need to remain open to His leading.

The Process

I’ll be honest, there were times when creating this book was almost too much for me to handle. I spent around 400 hours on the art alone and then on top of that, had to write content that was theologically sound and well said. I remember finishing the art in my journal and starting all over at Romans 1 to recreate the art digitally. I cried. I nearly had a panic attack. But, similarly to how Christ says in Matthew 6:34 not to worry about tomorrow, I kept remembering not to look ahead, because that would only bring on anxiety. I learned to tell myself, “Just keep moving,” and, “One letter at a time.” And by one letter at a time, I finished the art for my book.

After I finished the hand lettered art, I was relieved to focus my energy elsewhere… my devotional thoughts to accompany the art. It wasn’t before long that I missed the art. The art was time consuming, but writing was just straight up difficult. By God’s grace, He placed wise people in my life who were willing to help me write and edit my content and without Wendi, Scott, and Jennifer, I would not have had the confidence to publish that content.

On top of all that, I was working with my printing company and with Bible publishers, trying to learn how all the publishing and legal stuff worked. I shed many tears over that, but I’m truly grateful for what I learned.

Thankful

It’s been a wild ride. I’m thankful God led me into it blindly, or else I don’t know if I would have done it. I think He knew I’d be too overwhelmed if I could have seen the early mornings and the many nights staying up till 3 AM. I’m also thankful I shared on my blog that I was writing a book, because that was great accountability and motivation to keep going. People like you continually expressed excitement for the book to be finished and that you were praying for me. Had there not been so much buzz about it, I really don’t know if I would have been motivated enough to finish it.

Now that the book is in stock and for sale, the sense of accomplishment I feel is too great for words. I cannot wait to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ through my art and through what He taught me as I studied the book of Romans this past summer. I hope you will be encouraged and inspired by this book and that you would give it to someone who might be intimidated or overwhelmed by the Bible. I truly believe this book has the ability to change lives.

It changed mine.

Thanks again for all the love and support through the entire process of creating this book!

Order your very own copy of Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional today by clicking HERE.