Course Description

The Advanced Placement Studio Art course makes it possible for highly motivated, very talented high school art students to create college level artwork.  This course is comprised of three parts: Breadth, Concentration & Quality. During the first half the course students will complete twelve (12) works of art in a wide range of art forms to demonstrate artistic Breadth. Students are asked to demonstrate mastery in a variety of areas including drawing, painting, and design. Students will be stretched artistically while applying their personal skills, media techniques, and problem solving skills in creating original and creative works of art. During the second half of the course students will focus on creating a Concentration. This will include twelve (12) works of art in any two-dimensional media that become a cohesive collection with a unifying theme of the students choice. Quality throughout the course is found in the concept, composition, and technical skills in a work of art.

At the end of the course, students will submit a final portfolio of five (5) original works of art along with digital images of the twenty four (24) original works of art from the course for evaluation.  College credit may be earned based upon the submission of the portfolio to the AP College Board.

Content of the Class

The course includes the following components:

1. Art History: The study of current artists, and artists from the past, as well as trends in art making. In addition to the artists students will be exposed to in class, students are expected to do their own personal research of artists who interest them, using the Artist’s We Love Powerpoint on Google Drive, and will present their selected artist to the class weekly. Each student will be given a digital Artist and Art Research Resource list, which contains information on local art galleries, various art magazines, art blogs, websites to find current art news, and links to famous art museums, which can be used to allow students to further explore current happenings in the contemporary art world.

2. A sketchbook will be a multifaceted tool throughout this course. It will be used to capture visual ideas, notes, doodles, and plans. It is also a place to store photos, interesting articles, practice various techniques, complete quick drawings, and try short assignments. It will be used as documentation of the student’s practice, and curiosity as well as being a glimpse into their creative minds, and artistic exploration. These sketchbook assignments will then be reflected upon and should assist the students in selecting a media, and topic for their concentration.

a. During the first 9 weeks of the course, students will complete a variety of exploratory sketchbook assignments the various media every week including charcoal, graphite in pencil and stick form, ballpoint pen, marker, india ink, watercolor paint, and acrylic.

b. During the second 9 weeks, students are given a menu of Artistic Challenges, with open ended drawing assignments for students to choose from. Each student will select one assignment per week which they feel will help them explore their artistic abilities, and demonstrate their abilities with a variety of media. Each student is encouraged to explore the artistic problem of the sketchbook challenge in their own unique way.

3. Diverse course content teaches students a variety of concepts and approaches in 2-D design so that the student is able to demonstrate a range of abilities and versatility with technique. Such conceptual variety can be demonstrated through either the use of one or the use of several media.  AP Studio Art: 2-D Design course content includes but is not limited to:

  1. Reductive Charcoal Portrait Drawing

  2. Fractured Object Drawing, an abstracted composition of one object with Pen and Ink.

  3. Self Portrait, created in student chosen medium. This may be a fractured self portrait, interactive self portrait, or a still life describing the self.

  4. Stacked Oil Painting

  5. Mixed media drawing with a focus architectural drafting and a mix media emphasis.

  6. Digital Photography

  7. Your Cause, a selection of a personal cause by the artist focusing on mood, type styles, and theme.

  8. Printmaking either woodcut printmaking, screenprinting, or etching.

  9. Life study portrait and figure drawings using watercolor, conte, and pastel.

  10. Cut paper collage composition

  11. Negative space portraits using text

  12. Diptych

4. Written Reflections are required for all assigned artistic challenges. A permanent written reflection allows a student to analyze and evaluate their finished work of art, which will assist in the creation of a varied and well rounded Breadth section of the portfolio, as well as insuring that each piece created for the concentration is cohesive and builds upon each other. Reflections should include insight into the development of the idea, discussion of the creativity of the work, technical skills, and degree of difficulty. Students will utilize appropriate art terminology while discussing the use of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, the relation of the work to a particular style, art period, or artist, and the mood of the piece. Students should also reflect on the overall final presentation of the work, and the personal feelings regarding the work.

5. Development of student’s portfolios for AP Studio Art: 2-D Design, which will be composed of the following three parts:

Quality (Original Works)

  • 5 Matted works created by the student.

  • These should be the students most successful work with respect to the Quality score guidelines and cannot be larger than 18” x 24”.


  • 12 digital images of 12 different original works exploring a single visual concern in depth.

  • Think of it like a visual term paper.

  • The thoughts, ideas, and exploratory in the student’s sketchbooks will assist in developing this idea for the second half of the course.

  • After the concentration idea has been developed, the student should spend a significant amount of time describing how they will visually develop and execute the idea.

  • Students should be doing research by making many works of art.

  • The Concentration will be developed during the second half of the course.


  • 12 digital images of 12 different original works which show a mastery of varied media, techniques, and subject matter.

  • Students are asked to respond to specific visual problems in a creative way by incorporating different media and techniques to demonstrate a diversity of solutions to the problem.

Homework & Open Studio

Homework assignments in the form of artist and artistic research, sketchbook drawings, artistic planning, and various written assignments will be given and are expected to be handed in on time at the due date. Ideas for projects or solutions to artistic problems should be explored and worked out in the sketchbook both during and outside of class. The studio is always open for you to do extra work outside of class time if necessary. Students are welcome to work in the morning from 7:00-7:30 am, and after school as requested. In order to complete work outside of the classroom, students are welcome to sign out and borrow the necessary materials.

Assignments, Evaluation & Grades

The nature of this course is highly individual, and is structured for each student to tailor it to their specific needs, and ways of artistically solving problems. Due to the individual nature of each assignment, student’s artwork will be evaluated and graded in in the following three forms:

1. Participation and involvement in Individual and class discussions and critiques. Students are expected to discuss their own work, the work of their peers, and the work of professional artists, both past and present. Students are expected to constructively discuss the artwork at hand using vocabulary of art, in order to evaluate their work, and develop ideas for future exploration.

2. Written final reflections for for each piece will be used for self evaluation and to provide insight into the students process and individual concept.

3. Rubrics will be used to objectively grade the following 5 criteria: Concept and planning of the artwork. Creativity, in terms of complex concept and design aesthetic. Skills and the use of the media and techniques to create the artwork. Craftsmanship in relation to the final aesthetic presentation of the artwork. Best Practice and the students focus, drive, and time spent creating the work.

After each work has been completed, submitted, and graded, the student is required to conference with the teacher to discuss the work, grade, and the progress of the student’s developing portfolio.  Students will also be given grades for their sketchbook assignments, which will be given at the beginning of the course, written artist statements throughout the process, and Art History assignments including Art cards, artist research and presentations, and quizzes to test their knowledges of artistic concepts and art history.

Copyright Issues

All work must be original, and completely developed by the student. When creating a work students should be working from their imagination, life, or their own personally taken photographs. Students are instructed that they must show substantial and significant development beyond copying from published photographs and/or artists’ works. Finished artwork will not be accepted if it uses someone else’s work or a published image due to it being an unethical act of plagiarism.  During the first week of class, there will be a significant emphasis on artistic integrity, and the unlawful practice of plagiarism, in order for students to understand that this is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated in this course, and the art world.  If a student does use someone elses work, there must be a large amount of significant alteration to the piece for it to be considered original. Students will develop an understanding of plagiarism during individual and group discussions by analyzing the work of other artists including Jeff Koons, Shepard Fairey, and Roy Lichtenstein. While students are encouraged and required to research and learn from the artwork and creation of others, it is of utmost importance that this research serves solely as an inspirational and informative aspect of the students artistic rather than a source of duplication.

2-D Design Portfolio Sections: Quality, Concentration, Breadth

Section III - Breadth

In this section, students will create a set of twelve works showing mastery of a variety of media, techniques, and subject matter. Students will be asked to respond to, and develop an artistic problem in a variety of ways. The portfolio submission includes 24 works, because of this each student will need to complete 12 works each term, or roughly one to two works per week. Students should work steadily, and will be accountable for submitting multiple works at the end of each marking period for evaluation. At the end of the first 9 weeks, students will submit the works, as well as the digital images of each, and a detailed inventory sheet to keep track of the artwork completed and to be submitted for this section.

Section II - Concentration

Twelve digital images of an in depth series of works organized around the visual concern that the student developed. This concept will be created using sketchbook exploration, and a series of “Think Sheets” which will assist each student in discovering what they are passionate about, and how to visualize their idea. The higher the quality of idea, and the more defined the concept, the easier it will be to create twelve works around that idea. After selecting a concept, student should reference their sketchbooks, previous works, and do artistic research, and spend a considerable amount of time describing how they plan to develop their idea. At the end of the second 9 weeks, students will submit the works, as well as the digital images of each, and a detailed inventory sheet to keep track of the artwork completed and to be submitted for this section.

Section I - Quality

Students are asked to demonstrate quality through five (5) carefully selected examples of their portfolio artwork. The selected works should show and understanding of two dimensional design issues. These works should represent the student mastery of artistic accomplishments in concept, composition, use of materials, and execution of the work. They may be a combination of related and unrelated works to the portfolio if necessary.

All works for the Quality section should be mounted on neutral matboard, and be covered with fixative if necessary.

AP Portfolio Submission

Submission of a digital portfolio in May is mandatory to receive AP credit. Artwork inventory including all 24 digital images, mating of the work and artist statements must be completed before the date of submission. Failure to do so may result in an incomplete portfolio which will not be submitted to the AP College Board.

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