Washington State Visual Art Standards

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Jasper John Self Portraits in Kindergarten


We are getting close to the end of our school year and I saved the Printmaking unit for the end. I wanted to keep these Summer ready kiddos engaged and Printmaking is a great way to do that. It is relatively easy to learn and the possibilities for artistic choice making is endless.

The kindergarten artists were practicing the most basic form of printmaking which is stamping. I instructed the students to begin by tracing rectangles in rows and columns on a large piece of drawing paper. Then they laid their pastels on their sides to color in each rectangle with different colors. They could mix colors with layers if they chose to do so. 

To help guide our art making we looked at the "Alphabet Painting" by Jasper Johns. I didn't dig into Pop Art History too deeply with the kinders but we did discuss how we were able to recognize the alphabet and that Jasper Johns liked used very recognizable images in his artwork.

Jasper Johns "Alphabet" 1959

I then place trays of various paints at tables along with foam letter sponges. The students were to rotate to tables after about 30 seconds or so to stamp their foam letters into the paint and print them inside the rectangles on their papers.

The sponges I used I bought through my district's catalog.

For time constraints and ease of sponge access, I didn't require students to put the letters in order of the alphabet.

The next day I had the students choose a piece of skin toned construction paper (I had 6 different tones to choose from)  so that we could do some guided drawing in creating their self portraits. I gave them a basic face shape to start with and encouraged them to add unique details such as freckles, missing teeth, etc.


They traced their drawings with oil pastels and glued it to their alphabet paintings. They painted their hair and added a paper shirt to finish.




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