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Advanced Placement Studio Art

Course Syllabus
The Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art course is designed to fulfill the requirements directed
by the College Board program of study. AP Studio Art is a challenging and rigorous course
whose essential purpose is the generation of a substantial body of high quality works of art. The
coursework is expected to be at the college level in substance, content and form. The success of
AP Studio requires a strong commitment from teachers, the school and highly motivated
students. Students are expected to understand the course requirements, involve themselves in
critical decision-making about their work, employ original approaches to their work, and
embrace the challenge of producing a prolific, high quality body of work.

The core of the program is essentially an intensive portfolio course designed to prepare
students to successfully complete the requirements of the AP Studio Art Portfolio Exam.
The portfolio consists of three sections: the Quality Section, the Concentration Section, and
the Breadth Section.

The Quality Section requires five actual pieces of artwork, no larger than 18" x 24" matted, and
the works can be derived from the other two sections. These represent the works of highest
quality and visual effectiveness.

The Concentration Section of the Portfolio contains twelve works that are related to each other
in various ways, usually by subject, concept or media. The Concentration Section requires a
written plan of study that states the intent to pursue a thematic area of investigation that is
consistent throughout the section.

The Breadth Section consists of twelve strong pieces that explore a variety of subjects and
media. It should demonstrate a breadth of experience and experimentation that is distinct from
the Concentration Section and reveals versatility in different media and approaches.

Individual pieces of work from the Quality Section may appear as slides in either the
Concentration Section or the Breadth Section, but not both.

The emphasis in this course is towards completion of requirements for the Drawing and/or 2-D
Design Portfolio. There can be significant overlap of the nature of work between the Drawing and
2-D Design Portfolios.
Clarification of the requirements for each portfolio are explained in detail in the AP Studio Art
Course Program of Study (copies available in the Art Room). When each student determines
which Portfolio they intend to pursue, a copy of the program description will be available from
the Program of Study guide.

Originality Statement: The AP Studio Art Program has very specific guidelines to ensure
originality of student work in order to avoid issues of plagiarism and copyright infringement.
College programs have rigorous policies regarding copying the work of other artists and
photographers, and AP Studio Art endorses these policies. The emphasis in most art schools
and colleges is to stress the value of working from direct observation, and that is our emphasis
as well. While photographic references are invaluable aids in many forms of work, the student
must demonstrate a creative interpretation and/or combination of images that transcends mere
copying. Students are encouraged to create images themselves using their own photography as
references. It is essential to avoid plagiaristic translations of copyrighted photos, and making
copies of another visual artists work, while having instructional value, are not allowed as
submissions for the AP Portfolio. Tracing images other than the students own preliminary
drawings is strictly prohibited. The AP Studio Art Course Description states that work that
makes use of other artists work (including photographs) and/or published imagesmust show
substantial and significant development beyond duplication. It is unethical, constitutes
plagiarism, and often violates copyright law to simply copy an image, (even in another
medium) that was made by someone else. In evaluating portfolios, Readers look for original
thinking. Students are encouraged to create artworks from their own knowledge, experiences
and interests.



An introduction to the course and the program of study, including explanation of the portfolio
options (Drawing and 2-D Design) and description of the sections of the portfolios (Quality,
Concentration, Breadth). The introduction to this course will also include two weeks of
drawing and design exercises designed to provide instruction, develop observational skills, and
access student weaknesses and strengths. Students will become familiar with the elements of
art and principles of design and learn to express themselves using those terms when discussing
art. Particular attention is given to formulating ideas about concentrations, including a mini
concentration project where the students will do a small scale series of 12 related works of art
that they will write a concentration statement for.


A concentration is a body of works based on a student's interest in a particular subject or theme

expressed visually. When developing a concentration, students are encouraged to explore a
personal, central interest as extensively as possible. Students should select a thematic concept
and develop it through a vast range of images and media. The concentration should demonstrate
an investigation in which the student has invested considerable time, effort and thought. A
thorough examination of the Program of Study will provide more ideas and inspiration to
assist in decisions about concentrations.
Requirements for the Concentration Section include:
-15 to 20 works, from which 12 will be selected for portfolio inclusion
-a written commentary that has three parts:
1 Briefly describe the nature of your concentration project.
2 Briefly describe the development of your concentration and the
sources of your ideashow your concentration has evolved.
3 Provide a description of the media used.

Examples of Past Concentrations:

fantasy animals, anthropomorphic figures, sunsets, self-portraits, poverty and hunger, childrens book illustration, fairy
tales, cats, surrealistic figures, still lifes of clothing, old trucks, rural landscapes, original comic book illustrations,
figures with wings, monotypes.


Breadth refers to the student's experiences and accomplishments in a variety of art forms and
techniques. The student's work in this section should show evidence of conceptual, perceptual,
expressive and technical range. 12 artworks are selected for the portfolio.


Five actual pieces of work in one or more media will be submitted for the AP Drawing and 2-D
Portfolios. The work must not exceed 18 x 24 matted and must be able to be packed flat. Slides of
5 different works (2 views each) are required for the 3-D Portfolios, not actual works. Quality
works should be carefully selected to demonstrate the highest level of student accomplishment for
their portfolio. The AP Course Description states that Quality pieces should demonstrate
masteryin concept, composition and execution.

INDEPENDENT STUDY: Students are allowed and encouraged to explore artistic mediums and
conceptual approaches that interest them, and are not restricted to those assignments listed above.


This framework is intended to estimate appropriate progress toward portfolio development

throughout the school year. Students must realize that the AP Studio Art Portfolio Exam occurs
during the first week in May, all works should be completed and ready to be photographed by
not enough scheduled class time to complete the amount of work required.

-ATC (Artist Trading Card) Mini Concentration Project
-See AP institute examples and read Concentration Statement
-Do a related series of 12 ATC in any medium desired
-Write a Concentration Statement for the series
Wk 4
- Close ups of natural occurrences in colored pencil, paint, or chalk pastel
- Cut fruit or vegetable, fresh and shiny or old and moldy
- Rusty tools or cans
- Peeling painted objects
Wks - High contrast images with peculiar perspectives
5+6 - Charcoal still life of glass lit sideways
- Pen and ink, charcoal, or high contrast colors

Wk - Figure studies in marker

7+8 - Contour figures
- Hatching lines for quick shading of areas
- Expressive figure studies
- Begin with shaded paper and an eraser
- Use black ink or drippy watercolor on easels
- Embellish with multi-media (cut paper, marker, crayon, paint)

Wks - Incorporating text and imagery effectively (make two, finalize one)
9&10 - Words or letters as a design element, not a focal point
- Use of letters to develop one or more of the elements or principles of art
- Imagery tells the story, letters/words clarify
- Inspiration derived from a remarkable occurrence

Wks - Creative Cartography

11&12 - Transform a map into a 2D or 3D work of art, or create a map from your imagination
- Consider the meaning and relevance of your project, and be able to describe it
- Individual student conferences with the teacher regarding the concentration section of the portfolio, their
approach, ideas, etc. At this point students should have at least one piece (completed outside of class) ready
for critique.

- Self portrait mirror sketches of creative composition and framing (make three)
Wks - Quick pencil or charcoal sketches using mirrors
13&14 - Compositional considerations such as eyes not being central or focal point
- One sketch brought to completion using additional media

- Mixed Media/Layers Collage/Assemblage (13)

Wks - Layers of maps, magazines, newspaper, own sketches, found objects, old books
15&16 - Embellish over with art media of choice: ink, marker, paint, pastels, etc.

- Highly detailed foreground image fading to sparsely detailed background (14)

- See page 180 of Art for Life book
- Chalk pastels, charcoal, pencil or colored pencil
- Individual student conferences with the teacher regarding the concentration section of the portfolio to review
additional work completed outside of class time.

Wks - Choose one of the three lessons below to complete for an additional Breadth Section piece or use this
19&20 time to complete other unfinished pieces if necessary.
- What does a bird see?
- Not necessarily, but possibly, a birds eye view
- Brainstorm the daily activities of this animal. What might it witness?
- Utilize media that best lend themselves to the subject matter
- What does a snail or turtle see?
- Not necessarily, but possibly, a view from below
- Brainstorm the daily activities of these creatures. What might they witness?
- Utilize media that best lend themselves to the subject matter
Wks - The main focus of this term will be the continued development of imagery for the
21-30 Concentration (Section II) of the AP Portfolio. Students will attend ongoing mentoring
appointments at which time they are individually counseled about their choices of plan for
their Concentration study. By term end, students will have completed the remaining pieces for the
Concentration section and will also have completed their written statement using accurate artistic

Wks - This short term will be devoted to the final preparation for the AP Portfolio. Students will receive
31-33 individual mentoring regarding the selection of pieces for the Breadth Section in order to demonstrate
maximum variety while continuing to develop work that demonstrates invention, personal direction/
voice, and thoughtful decision-making for the Concentration Section. Individual mentoring appointments
will be scheduled at which time the Breadth Section and the Concentration Section will be thoroughly
reviewed in order to identify and remedy weak pieces. Five pieces to be submitted for the Quality portion
of the portfolio will be selected and prepared for shipping. Breadth and Concentration work will be
submitted digitally the second week of May.

SUPPLEMENTAL READING: AP Studio Art students will be exposed to

visual arts technical guides, art history texts, and contemporary art
through a variety of sources. Some texts/magazines are cited below:

Brommer, Gerald. Discovering Art History, Third Edition. Worcester, MA:

Davis Publications, 1997.

Goldstein, Nathan. The Art of Responsive Drawing, Fifth Edition. Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999

The Artists Magazine

Americian Artist

IN-CLASS CRITIQUES: must be scheduled to help students assist in their

portfolio development and to gain feedback and suggestions for improving
their work. Students are expected to actively participate in the critique process, effectively
communicate their intentions and self-access their work as well as the work of their
classmates. Students must become fluent in the language of art and express their opinions
and observations in a respectful manner that has evidence of an understanding of the
elements of art and the principles of design.

RUBRICS: Students will be graded with the standard Art Department Rubric.