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AP Studio Art Drawing Syllabus

Course Description:
The AP Studio Art portfolios are designed for students who are seriously interested
in the practical experience of art. AP Studio Art is not based on a written exam;
instead, students submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the school year.
AP Studio Art students work with diverse media, styles, subjects, and content. Each
of the portfolios consists of three sections:
- The Breadth section illustrates a range of ideas and approaches to art
making, demonstrating a variety of skill sets
- The Concentration section shows sustained investigation of a student-
selected, personally relevant topic.
- The Quality section represents the students most successful works with
respect to form and content.
Students will be expected to solve creative problems using their knowledge of
elements and principles of design in the drawing course to create specific
compositional effects. They will be working at a college-level to develop and
demonstrate mastery of concept, composition, and execution of personal themes
and ideas through their drawings. Students will use a range of conceptual
approaches as well as show technical skill in a variety of mediums and familiarity of
traditional and contemporary approaches to art. Class assignments will challenge
students to set and achieve creative goals. The expectation is that the student will
be involved in a sustained investigation of all three aspects of portfolio
development: quality, concentration, and breadth.
Instructor Goals:
1. To promote a sustained investigation of all three aspects of the portfolio
quality, concentration, and breadth.

2. To enable students to work toward developing mastery in concept,

composition, and execution of drawing, at a college level.

3. To enable students to develop a body of work investigating the underlying

visual ideas in drawing, through a coherent plan of action or investigation (a
concentration), through use of outlines, sketches, and annotations in

4. To teach students a variety of concepts and approaches in drawing so that

the student is able to demonstrate range of abilities and versatility with
technique, problem-solving, and ideation.

5. To emphasize making art as an ongoing process that involves the student in

informed and critical decision making.

6. To engage in group and individual student critiques, instructional

conversations with the teacher, and enable students to learn to analyze and
discuss their own artworks and those of their peers.

7. To teach students to understand artistic integrity as well as what constitutes


The drawing portfolio focuses on using a wide variety of ranges and approaches to
consider line quality, light and shade, rendering of form, composition, surface
manipulation, the illusion of depth, and mark-making. There are no preferred or
unacceptable content or style. Students may use traditional drawing media,
painting, printmaking, digital drawing, a combination of media, or others not listed.
Works may be abstract, observational, and inventive. Consider a wide range of mark
used, how they are arranged, and materials used to make the marks.
Below are the three sections of the portfolio, with descriptions and requirements for
Quality: Contains 5 selected works of art to be sent to college board for
These works should demonstrate understanding and mastery of drawing in
concept (ideas and themes), composition (arrangement of space using
elements and principles), and execution (technical skill). The works should be
college-level pieces that are the best representation of your personal ideas
and skills. They may be pieces from your concentration or breadth section.
They should be flat, be able to fit in an 18" x 24" folder, and should not be
glass, stretched canvas, or anything else that could break in the mail. Pieces
should all have a cover attached to the back and folded over the front to
protect the image, and should be mounted or matted on neutral mat board.
Concentration: Contains 12 digital images (some can be details or process
images of the works).
A concentration is a body of work descibing an in-depth exploration of a
particular drawing concern. This is where you will come up with a theme that
is personally relevant to you, and you will create a variety of works of art that
connect to that theme. You will be working with teacher to discuss and
develop your theme and come up with plans on how to truly investigate the
theme through your artwork. Works such as the mini-concentration booklet
and your surreal self-portrait will help to explore and inform your interests in
order to come up with a concentration theme that is relevant and interesting
to you. The exploration should show growth within your concentration, should
show focus and direction, and must be original works of art. Creative
problem-solving should be evident through works, and all pieces included
should clearly tie to the concentration. Avoid clich themes such as "the
emotions of my friends" or "sunrises and sunsets". Ideas to consider are
specific memories, your own personal experiences, manipulated self-
portraits, social/environmental/political issues you are deeply invested in, or
other themes that you personally connect with.
In addition to your images, you will need to respond to two prompts
describing your concentration. One prompt will ask you to clearly and simply
state the central idea of your concentration. This should be developed early
on in the year as it will give direction to the actual works of art. The second
prompt will ask you to explain how your works demonstrate your intent and
the sustained investigation of your idea. You are able to refer to specific
images as examples in the explanation.
Breadth: Contains 12 digital images of 12 separate works of art.
The breadth section of your portfolio will contain a variety of works
demonstrating a range of conceptual and/or technical approaches. You should
clearly show experimentation, exploration, inventiveness, expressive
manipulation of form, and knowledge of compositional organization. You may
choose to use a single media or a variety of media, but if you choose a single
media, you still must show a range of approaches, techniques, compositions,
and subjects.
These works of art must be DIFFERENT than the works of art in your
concentration section. Submitting the same work of art in both sections will
negatively affect your score.

Students must submit only work that they have created, void of the intellectual
ideas or work of others. This means students may not use someone elses work,
internet images, or images found elsewhere (published or not) as the basis of their
own artwork. If students produce work that makes use of photographs, published
images, and/or other artist's work, the students' work must be developed so that it
moves beyond duplication by using significant alteration to the original. Students
can avoid this by creating work based on their own life, photographs, ideas, and
imagery. We will have class discussion about situations that exemplify plagiarism,
how artists could have avoided plagiarism in their work, and how students can keep
their own voice in their artwork. A key to being successful in artwork is placing
artistic integrity and ethical decision making at the forefront of the art making
Class Timeline:
First semester will involve creating a mini-concentration in the form of either a set
of artist cards, or an investigation sketchbook, where the student will be able to
start to explore what idea they might want to consider for their portfolio
concentration. Students will also be creating the majority of their breadth pieces,
will decide on their concentration, and will begin concentration works.
September - mini concentration, surreal self portrait, still-life showing
transparency, 1 additional breadth piece (your choice), meet with teacher to
look at past work to be potentially used in AP portfolio

October - Reduction piece (erased charcoal/conte, negative space drawing, or

linocut print), nature painting, 1-2 additional breadth pieces, begin
brainstorming concentration ideas in sketchbook

November - Meet with teacher to narrow down concentration to 2-3 ideas and
continue to develop in sketchbook, 2-3 breath pieces of your choice

December - Have your concentration selected, complete 1 concentration

piece in class, 1 concentration piece over by end of winter break, and work on
any additional breadth pieces

January - Work on 3 concentration pieces, 1 additional breadth or

concentration depending on what needs to be done
Second semester is going to be primarily focused on your concentration portfolio,
and finishing up any breadth pieces that you may be short on (you should have 12,
or more to choose from). These few months will go FAST since the portfolio is due at
the beginning of May. Students will be expected to work in and outside of class,
making use of mentoring time and after school studio hours when needed.

February - Work on 2-3 concentration pieces, class critique to select breadth

pieces for portfolio, upload breadth portfolio, meet with teacher to evaluate
progress and look at next steps in concentration

March - Work on 3-4 concentraton pieces depending on how many you have
completed so far. You should have a minimum of 8 done by this point in time,
and more is better.

April - Last month to work on portfolio! Complete any missing components to

your whole portfolio (concentration or breadth), write artists statements for

May - Class critique and selection of 5 quality pieces to be sent for portfolio,
submit portfolios by end of first week of May. Work on artist website after
portfolio is submitted, contemporary artist research assignment

June - Studio clean up, contemporary artist research assignment due

Throughout the year expect to be creating sketches and preparatory work for each
piece you create, especially for your concentration works. The preparatory work can
be used as a slide to show the progress along the way to the piece. Often the
process is equally, if not more important, than the finished work. Additionally,
expect to have regular critique including individual, small group, whole class, and
teacher critique. Participation in critiques is vital to success in the class, and
therefore works need to be done in a timely fashion so you can be fully engaged. If
you need time outside class to work, the studio is open during mentoring, lunch on
odd schedule days, and select days after school.

Assignments and Strategies for strong portfolios:

The following assignment ideas are good starting points for learning and mastering
certain mediums and techniques. They will also be used as a basis for discussing
composition through elements and principles of art. Specific methods will be taught
in class and demonstrated to students. Many of the assignments will require
students to actively be seeking and documenting things that they see and
experience outside of the classrooms, as well as doing some research into
contemporary artists working in the world.

Mini-concentration sketchbook researching the style of a contemporary

artist and using aspects of that style to create small compositions that
connect to a new-world news article connecting to a
social/political/economical issue that you are interested in. This allows you
to start to understand how to create multiple compositions all relating to a
theme. Think outside the box and use many mediums including but not
limited to watercolor, charcoal, cont crayon, pastel, acrylic, Prismacolor,
etc. Use a variety of transfer methods such as using gel medium, tape,
alcohol marker, etc., to incorporate newspaper clippings and printed
imagery into your book in order to enhance and create additional textures.
Methods will be demonstrated and taught in class.
Create a surreal self-portrait utilizing a variety of surreal techniques
(dislocation, juxtaposition, transparency, levitation, dramatic scale,
transformation) in watercolor and/or acrylic paint that explores your sense
of self. Use symbolic imagery combined with self to represent the things
that make you who you are.
Create a still life using transparent objects (glass jars, bottles, crystal
objects, glasses, etc.) arranged in an interesting way, and done in
watercolor and/or Prismacolor pencil. Consider the time of day to create
dramatic lighting (sunrise or sunset).
Take black and white photos of interesting compositions and draw them in
color by selecting colors with similar values to represent the grayscale
values (ie pale yellow for a light value, dark violet for a dark value) Choose
9 colors for 9 values from black to white. Utilize a grid to enlarge the
original photo.
Create a series of portraits of yourself using different perspectives such as
a birds eye view, ants view, foreshortening of a limb, reflection, etc.
Experiment with different mediums such as white cont on black paper,
alternate between additive charcoal layers and reduction charcoal layers,
wet-in-wet watercolor techniques, continuous line drawings in marker,
collage magazine pieces, white and black cont crayon or charcoal on
gray paper, or sepia and white cont crayon on brown toned paper.
Methods to be demonstrated and discussed as projects develop.
Create landscapes using multiple perspectives such as one, two, or three
point perspective. Include landmarks that are significant to you from your