Since people seem interested in the pencil shading SuperBuck assignment,
I'll elaborate on it a bit more. This assignment was approximately two
I started the project by announcing that I was giving everyone $5. That
caught their interest! I had enlarged (50%) and photocopied five dollar
bills to give the students. Before anyone gasps at my counterfeiting
attempts, I had contacted the secret service to ask about photocopying
money. Their guidelines are that the copy must be at least 50% larger or
smaller, not done to appear real or be used as real currency. At this
point, since the new currency has come out, I suggest trying to find the
older currency which is much more elaborate and interesting. The $5 sample
was so that students could closely observe the designs and shading.
I offered extra credit to students who brought in foreign currency for us to
look at. I also had sheets of photocopies of foreign currency which I had
laminated. These were passed around for inspiration.
I had developed a shading worksheet which we started the first day. There
are five different shading techniques on it and we did one each day. When
we did each example, I suggested that students pull out a dollar bill to
observe the shading. As a little teacher humor, I then instructed them to
leave the money on the table as a 'tip for the teacher!"
I also showed two PBS videos I had recorded while we worked; "Making a
Dishonest Buck" and "The Money Man." The Making a Dishonest Buck is on how
the government spots counterfeit money and how the currency is changing.
It''s really interesting.
The Money Man is about a performance artist named J.G. Boggs who draws
perfect imitations of money, but only the front side. He puts his
fingerprint on the blank back side. Then he goes out and 'spends' the
money. The performance piece is that he convinces people that real currency
is a work of art and it has an intrinsic value beyond 'coin of the realm.'
His knock-off currency is also art and has an intrinsic value. He has
managed to buy a motorcycle and other products this way. He collects the
change and the receipt from each transaction. Art collectors then purchase
these 'artifacts' of the performance and try to purchase the original 'J.G.
Boggs' currency! This whole 'performance' really twists the mind around
issues of art, money, etc. The kids had a great time discussing the video
and the concepts!
We also spent a period learning to draw 3-D ribbons ala Mark Kistler's
imagination station. Each student got a 18" long piece of cash register
tape (I find it at garage sales and thrift stores). They 'arranged' it into
swirls and shapes and then drew it. This was a good introduction into the
idea of perspective, foreshortening, etc. From that the students practiced
drawing an undulating ribbon design on scratch paper. I also drew a very
large rectangle on the white board and 'started' the top line of a ribbon.
Students volunteered to come up and finish parts of the ribbon. They got
terrific tickets (my version of Mona bucks) if they got it right. They also
got coaching from the other students.
This was followed by a planning sheet where students did a rough draft of
their 'currency' complete with ribbon, portrait, shading, etc.
This probably took up the first week. The second week we started on the
18"x7 1/2" paper. I cut down 18"x24" paper for this.
Now, after all of this description, I must confess that I don't have
pictures of the SuperBucks. When I moved to being the Computer Science
person, I gave away most of my 'hard copy' art examples to my student
teacher. I did get an article on this project published way back in the
early 1990's in either School Arts or Arts and Activities, but I can't
remember which at this moment. If I get a chance to sort through the junk
on my computer room shelves at home, I'll see if I can find the magazine
Alix E. Peshette
Emerson Junior High School
"Every artist was first an amateur."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
From: Bruthrobson@aol.com [mailto:Bruthrobson@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 8:29 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: teaching pencil shading-m.s.