Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jasper Johns' Alphabet

Inspired by the Jasper Johns painting "Numbers", I thought this project would be a wonderful way to introduce students to the work of Jasper Johns and to create a piece of Pop Art!

First of all, I pre-folded all the papers. I used 12x18 white paper and folded it into 24 symmetrical boxes. What? You say the alphabet has 26 letters in it?! Well, we'll get to THAT in a minute!
I had the students use ALL CAPITAL letters so they would be uniform. We started with the letter "A". I did the rows like this:






On the lines where I had to squeeze 5 letters, we worked in the middle and then out from each side. I didn't tell the kids WHY we did this when we did it, but at the end they told me "oooooh, now I know why we did that!"
After the letters were written we used crayon (sans black and brown) to "color trace"---yes, I told them I invented this thing called color tracing. It's not tracing, it's also coloring. I told them if they didn't use my invention this time they would never be able to use it in the future.

I'm good like that.

Anyway, this will come in verrrrry handy for when you do the watercolor resist on the top of each one! If they don't press hard their letters will disappear under the paint.
For the next portion (day 2), use watercolor paints. I like to use the Crayola 16-color watercolors. There is obviously more of a variety there. Students will use ONE paint color to paint in each box (up to the fold). On the lines where there are 5 letters, they simply make a box around each letter and paint it in.And VOILA! A super-fab piece of Pop Art which is sure to brighten up your fridge. Or classroom. Or office.
Happy Creating!


  1. Nice to find you. I am playing around with a Jasper Johns art lesson too. (Love your BaTIKI Totems.)

  2. Good LORD, woman, you must have all the time in the world - or really tiny classes - if you folded all that paper for your classes. LOVE this project, but I'll have to figure out something other than alphabet to put in the boxes so the kids can fold it themselves.