EXPLORE ART projects: Jasper Johns Alphabet

It's been awhile since I've posted a famous artist inspired explore art project.  Here's a project Cy worked on individually and I also held a class on.  Jasper Johns Alphabet art with a look at pop art.

Let's start out with a little discussion and a few images to look at:

Pop Art takes famous or recognizable things out of where you would normally find them to make art.    Look at this banana and all those soup cans someone made into a picture and hung up as art! Andy Warhol. Where would you usually find these things?

Jasper Johns is our artist today. He made paintings,
printmaking and collage. Johns was an American Pop artist he used everyday objects to make art. What do you see?

Subject, what are some things to use in your Pop Art picture? Famous or recognizable things like flags, signs, labels stenciled letters and numbers are also a favorite of Jasper Johns and
other Pop artist. Look at this picture can you tell me what it is?

Today's project:
The last image, Jasper Johns "Colored Alphabet" is the inspiration for today's art project.
  • Large paper (18 X 24)
  • Paints (note Cy was using tube acrylic after begging for Mommy's paints, crayola washable paints would work just as well with this project)
  • Magazine pages torn out
  • Alphabet post its (found at the dollar tree-great score!)
  • Not pictured scissors and glue stick

First step, get your alphabet lined up.  You can sing if you like. Next cut squares out of your magazine pages, large enough to fit a letter on each square.

With the glue stick glue each letter to a magazine square and then start gluing them to the paper.  Work in rows going across the page A-Z.  A great element in this project are the magazine squares, although they are the backdrop for the letters they still add a bit to our pop art.  Each square has a bit of text print or advertising on it and will slightly show in the final project. 

Once everything is glued in place get painting.  Using acrylic paints I had Cy add a bit of water to each color to create a nice wash that you'd still be able to see the post it note letter through.  A little ways into the project we changed brushes to use a bigger, wider brush.  Cy was then able to not concentrate so much on every mark he made and paint more freely and a bit faster.

Cy finished painting, giving each letter a different color wash.  He also had some fun dragging the paint brush through the columns of neatly organized letters.  And that's it our Jasper Johns inspired alphabet project.  After it dried I did end up tracing each letter with a black sharpie to let the letters stand out a bit.  This will be another great new addition to the boys' room art along with the melted crayon canvas.

This was a great project to introduce children to pop art and ways to find the everyday in art making.  Working with the alphabet is something they will feel comfortable with and have a little fun.  Talk with them as they work about finding and naming the letters, Cy enjoyed singing the alphabet song over and over again! 


  1. Love this abc art project by jasper! thanks for sharing :)


  2. thanks candice, I enjoyed your pumpkin rock art- something different not another over done holiday craft!

  3. I went over the letters in black sharpie once it was dry, the plan is the hang it in my boys room- once I get a frame.



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