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Unit 2

2.0 A Guide to the AP Art and Design Portfolio (Guide 2)

12 min readโ€ขaugust 31, 2020


So, what do I do and how do I do it?

Simply put, your "test" for APยฎ Art and Design is the creation of a body of work. This work is called a portfolio. Artists use portfolios to show what they are capable of doing artistically. Your portfolio is what you will be scored on for your AP Art and Design "test". Unlike other tests, where you learn and are evaluated on what you remember on that day..... the AP Art and Design test is scored on the work you create over the extended period of time you are in the class.

There are two parts to the AP Art and Design portfolio, the Sustained Investigation (link to page) and the Selected Works (link to page). Together, these two parts create your AP submission. You need to complete both parts. What you create for these parts depends on which portfolio (2D, 3D, or Draw) you are submitting. No matter what. you idea or your media, there are certain principles of design that are used to create cohesion in your work. These are used throughout Art and you will need to demonstrate them.

Skills That Should Be Used

According to the updated AP Art and Design Rubric published by the College Board, these are the elements and principles of design that you need to demonstrate in any of these portfolios:

Point, line, shape, plane, layer, form, space, texture, color, value, opacity, transparency, time; unity, variety, rhythm, movement, proportion, scale, balance, emphasis, contrast, repetition, figure/ground relationship, connection, juxtaposition, and hierarchy

Elements of Design

The elements of design are color, line, point, shape, texture, space, form, and unity/harmony. The College Board is also using plane and layer as elements since they are additional components dealing with the space of the elements. These elements are arranged in different and increasingly complex ways to create the principles of design.

Principles of Design: AP2D + Draw

The principles of design revolve around HOW the elements of design are used within a piece of art to visually represent these ideas. Here are some very simple illustrations depicting these principles.

Opacity/Transparencyโ€”The degree to which design objects can be seen through or not. Deals with layering and playing with their interaction.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-YfIud3yGGFLP.jpg?alt=media&token=58ab45ca-41e1-4a0a-ad51-e2dbff0599d9

Value/Contrastโ€”Value is the level of lights and darks in a color, like light blue versus dark blue. Contrast is the intensity of that difference.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-iniSWSBdONDg.jpg?alt=media&token=3aeb57b0-1484-4379-9b04-0f658eb42e9d

Timeโ€”How do the element(s) change over time or implied time? You can show a paused moment in time or hint at elapsed time.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-AV4eB94haHaS.jpg?alt=media&token=82f894ab-55ac-4e29-9289-b2d2b150a5f0

Rhythmโ€”The spaces between elements can create a pattern or a rhythm between elements. The repeated patterns create a visual tempo when used in varying sizes and patterns. They may seem to create a flow or movement.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-SuTOmxO2qdRJ.jpg?alt=media&token=87838dc6-2873-4de1-a015-84d9451d82ef

Movementโ€”To create the illusion of movement in all or part of a work or the path that your eye takes across the picture plane. See how the elements move your eye throughout the composition?

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-DmXTfWevOmyz.jpg?alt=media&token=bd250326-c339-409a-99c8-2f7dc1d08b77

Proportion/Scaleโ€”Scale is how the various elements of the piece work in relationship with each other. Proportion is the relative size of different parts within an object.

  • Analogyโ€”Proportion could be represented by how big your nose is in comparison to a grouping of people. Scale is represented by how big your nose is compared to the other parts of your face. Here, the proportion of the P is how big it is compared to the rest of the word (whole composition or other elements), while the scale is how big the words are compared to each other.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-NYdU6rtHjfKA.jpg?alt=media&token=77c5f527-8ec4-4d70-8803-2bbd77fc11f0

Balanceโ€”There are three types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.

  • Symmetricalโ€”also known as mirror balance. This occurs when objects on either side of the picture plane have equal visual weight. ๐Ÿ’ก

    • Analogyโ€”two kids on a seesaw or teeter-totter need to be the same size/weight to balance and make the seesaw go up and down equally.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-B8Pz67XAH16f.jpg?alt=media&token=a624e38c-a21e-47b5-a63a-bd37fc09939b
  • Asymmetricalโ€”when objects on both sides of the picture plane, while having different sizes or numbers, still create a visual balance. ๐Ÿ’ก

    • Same analogy as aboveโ€”a bigger kid on the seesaw might need two smaller kids to create (asymmetrical) balance.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-xjOYMapAxLcU.jpg?alt=media&token=465a5c48-34f1-4d8f-9047-05bdf8f3a306

  • Radialโ€”when objects create a pattern extending outward (radiate) from a center point either there or implied. ๐Ÿ’ก

    • Analogyโ€”clocks! ๐Ÿ•” the hands circle out from the center. The numbers also create radial balance.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-80FVV5AENzU8.jpg?alt=media&token=d274eb13-011a-496a-9eee-2d104e3773e7

Emphasisโ€”When one area of the design is intended to draw the eye to it, placing it in a position of importance.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-TqVS9yh6FQGa.jpg?alt=media&token=f1984d92-b309-4a93-bccf-3dcfc63af0bc

Repetitionโ€”When an object or objects are used over and over again in the same manner.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-NhxoIkmb0piM.jpg?alt=media&token=6070af47-71a7-459e-97a2-d2e30c457947

Figure/Ground Relationshipโ€”How the foreground and background interact, creating positive and negative space. These may fluctuate in a variety of ways.

  • Stableโ€”When there is a clear foreground and background. One is the obvious forefront.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-2r0EkGcHgvIR.jpg?alt=media&token=d535834c-073e-4f77-9993-7bc0580e7363

  • Reversibleโ€”Objects draw attention equally, creating visual tension because either can read as the more important one at any time.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-o4AeWLcjDJJT.jpg?alt=media&token=cff2b714-347d-41c8-8228-5abf52868d31

  • Ambiguousโ€”Elements can function as both figure and ground at the same time. Both are equally compelling and the viewer is unsure of which is positive or negative space.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ywToGyNkNUo8.jpg?alt=media&token=3dca77da-d6d5-40b2-99d2-8aba6a42e83f

Connection/Juxtapositionโ€”Connection involves placing objects together to show how they are alike and are similar. Juxtaposition involves placing objects together to highlight their differences.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-kA6MtykFahJR.jpg?alt=media&token=3fe91deb-a88e-4e18-af9e-e8706655bbb2

Hierarchyโ€”How visual information is arranged to show importance when conveying information.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-W7HLAUuROMV1.jpg?alt=media&token=e00e2155-2305-4a40-b5cf-91939517525a

Principles of Design: AP3D

These are essentially the same as the principles of design for AP2D, but they are represented differently because of the 3D elements and the way you photograph the art.

The photos provided are all the work of a talented teacher and artist, Gabe Dorrego. He is allowing us to use them to help you understand these principles:

Opacity/Transparencyโ€”The degree to which design objects can be seen through.

This is a simple exercise using a milk jug, scissors, and a heat gun. Note how the opacity and transparency are manipulated with lighting and the shadows become an important part of the piece. See the section on how to photograph your artwork, as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-nDhy0mxpBw79.jpg?alt=media&token=dabb3cdd-c22d-432f-a143-305944aa73ee

Value/Contrastโ€”Value is the level of lights and darks in a color, like light blue versus dark blue. Contrast is the intensity of that difference.

A limited color range, blue and pink, is extended in the piece below through the use of value and contrast.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-3Wqtr6Nm7CFE.jpg?alt=media&token=d729d088-644f-4d83-a8e6-2b0598f2f804

Time โ€”How do the element(s) change over time or implied time?

The forms shown here imply classical (ancient) forms, but then are changed dramatically to make it seem more up to date or even a bit futuristic. This uncertainty is further compounded by the use of glazes that seem to create an aged patina on the piece. This is one way to deal with time in a 3D work.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-5mcr7Y3xhbmi.jpg?alt=media&token=4d8ceb0b-836a-46b3-967d-314bb06ff394

Rhythmโ€”The spaces between elements can create a pattern or a rhythm between elements through varying their spacing or sizing.

The undulations in the form below create a rhythmic pattern that moves the eye up the form.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-z8pKWFpj07NM.jpg?alt=media&token=bb21d1d5-839b-495c-ba8f-d8060a29a71c

Movementโ€”To create the illusion of movement in all or part of a work, or the path that your eye takes across the picture plane.

Here, the light ridges, curling handles and gently expanding form all work together to move the eye upward.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-vQawhx7xwlz7.jpg?alt=media&token=dda16baa-ee09-47b3-8fee-a885d8429db8

Proportion/Scaleโ€”Scale is how the various elements of the piece work in relationship with each other. Proportion is the relative size of different parts within an object.

In this photo, you can analyze the use of both proportion and scale. You can note the relative sizes of this grouping and see how they SCALE in comparison to each other. Then you can look at the PROPORTION of the handles to the bodies or the bases.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-5sIR7ndKB3eI.jpg?alt=media&token=fb967917-e8f1-4dc2-b5ff-5c0a20e90297

Balanceโ€”There are three types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.

  • Symmetricalโ€”also known as mirror balance. Exists when objects on either side of the picture plane have equal visual weight.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-lkUmMTTZt65t.jpg?alt=media&token=8d694f86-844b-43a0-b0fd-b29379678d7b

  • Asymmetricalโ€”when objects on both sides of the picture plane, while having different sizes or numbers, still create a visual balance.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-SOx4LWkWVvF5.jpg?alt=media&token=722cccde-49da-4c71-b2f1-2586fe0cea66

  • Radialโ€”when objects create a pattern extending outward (radiate) from a center point either there or implied.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-eAS4I6AbB4tU.jpg?alt=media&token=83a0a394-c29e-462f-8228-0dd857b29fee

Emphasisโ€”When one area of the design is intended to draw the eye to it, placing it in a position of importance.

The emphasis here is on the interaction between the Chameleon and the Cricket. Normally there would be one point of emphasis, but placing these close together draws your eye to these creatures and the space between them.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-zhiUnExflr4K.jpg?alt=media&token=15029be6-8d82-4262-a0a0-acc8f293b8c9

Repetitionโ€”When an object or objects are used over and over again in the same manner.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-BblwnvzzuyQN.jpg?alt=media&token=cf7ba1d7-e67c-4674-88f0-7a4d8d3ea259

Figure/Ground Relationshipโ€”How the foreground and background interact, creating positive and negative space.

The use of the strong orange with the deep blue flowers creates visual tension, while the design is offset by the simple, yet elegant form. You might notice each element differently, but they draw the viewer back and forth into contemplating form vs. pattern and the background and foreground of the glaze used.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-K9IXo4CNlLEm.jpg?alt=media&token=b474fd41-d022-43de-9205-2c4f4958109b

Connection/Juxtapositionโ€”Connection refers to placing objects together to show how they are alike and are similar. Juxtaposition is placing objects together to highlight their differences.

These two pieces show both connection and juxtaposition. The forms are similar but differ in the size of the piece and opening. They use the same glazes and patterns to tie them together.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-8JnVONyJuLlO.jpg?alt=media&token=8333addd-48fa-4bd7-9d6a-bb8ac70db1b6

Hierarchyโ€”How visual information is arranged to show importance when conveying information.

For this example, the relatively simple bottom form shows off the importance of the mermaid, specifically, the upper body, while the tail flattens and flows out against the rock .

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-PeIPOJP9yW9e.jpg?alt=media&token=99122ab9-f7c1-45ca-852f-fa518a26709a

When Do I Use the Principles of Design?

Quick answer? ALL THE TIME! These principles of design are used across all art media (materials). When you incorporate the third dimension, additional principles come into play, discussed in another guide. As you can tell, they overlap significantly and can be used in an infinite variety of ways together.

Understanding and using these principles in your work will create new and exciting compositions. Whenever you are sketching out a new project, do some quick thumbnails playing with them and trying different ways to combine them. It's a chance to play and learn when to use them to best achieve what you want in your work. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ˜„

What Is "Student Voice" and How Do I Develop It?

Student Voice is a huge thing with the College Board. The easiest way to explain it is through an exercise.

Think about an artist whose work you enjoy. Picture in your mind (or Google) their work. As you think about it, notice what you respond to. There might be a theme running throughout the work. It might be a particular color palette that draws you in. It might be the way they use materials. Whatever it is, that commonality throughout the work, is what you respond to. That is the Artist's Voice and should be visible across all of their work.

It works the same way in your work. The College Board wants to see you make the work only you can make. They want to see you express yourself as you try to visually communicate your ideas. You might think of this as your "style" or your "aesthetic" but it's more than just that, it's the way you put things together so that work becomes unmistakably yours.

Ok.... that kinda makes sense, but can you show me an example?

Sure! Let's look at some bowls of fruit, a pretty common thing in painting.

Pablo Picasso "Pitcher and Fruit Bowl"

Paul Gauguin "Bowl of Fruit and Tankard before a Window"

Andy Warhol "Space Fruit: Still Lifes

As you look at each of those, you can really see how each artist took a similar subject matter and made it uniquely their own. That's what you need to strive for.... creating work that is yours.

Inspiration or Copying?

I talk about this concept in another post and it is an important thing to consider. When you see artwork that inspires you, it might encourage you to create work in response to it, but that is not a direct copy. Imagine a Cubist work. Perhaps you really like the way forms are abstracted and flattened, or perhaps it is the linear divisions in the composition. You take that idea and play with it and interpret it in your own style, how you incorporated those ideas into your work is being inspired.

Now, imagine that same work, and you count how many segments are in the the piece. You try to put them in the same places and make them the same length. You try to match the colors because "you really like them and they look so good." That is copying. There is no YOU in it, you are trying to replicate the work of others. This is not what we want to see, you aren't Jeff Koons after all. (A little APAH humor, seriously, take that class, it's a game changer)

๐Ÿ˜ Be yourself. You are the only one that can be you, so do it fabulously and unapologetically. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Requirements

Sustained Investigation (SI)

Submit 15 images that demonstrate:

  • Sustained investigation through practice, experimentation, and revisionโ€”The visual evidence that you used to practice, experiment, and revise throughout the extended period of your SI.

  • Sustained investigation of materials, processes, and ideasโ€”Show the ways you explored different media or creative processes related to visually representing your idea. Make sure to also show how the idea evolved as you worked.

  • Synthesis of materials, processes, and ideasโ€”The ability of all of your techniques, material choices, and ideas to work well together and integrate cohesively to demonstrate your ideas effectively.

  • 2D/3D/Drawing skills (depending on type of portfolio submitted)

State the following in writing:

  • Identify the inquiry or question(s) that guided your sustained investigationโ€”Your guiding question is an idea that you EXPLORED, EXPANDED, and REVISED over a year-long investigation (hence the name Sustained Investigation) ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ. While it does not have to be written as a question, that might help you to think of the resulting work as being a direct answer to a question being posed. (link to GQ page)

  • Describe how your sustained investigation shows evidence of practice, experimentation, and revision guided by your inquiry or question(s) (1200 characters maximum, including spaces, for response to both prompts)โ€”Here, you need to talk about your Guiding Question, what you did, how the work changed, and how it evolved over time.

Questions that guide the sustained investigation are typically formulated at the beginning of the portfolio development. Students should formulate their inquiry or question(s) based on their own experiences and ideas. These guiding questions should be documented and further developed by students throughout the sustained investigation. (link to SI page)

Identify the following for each image:

  • Materials used (100 characters maximum, including spaces)โ€”What did you use to make the art? This doesn't just have to be things like "paint". You can also say things like: used my original photos, mixed glazes to achieve (whatever special effect), harvested tree limbs, wove a fabric, etc. You should highlight any additional steps you used to create the work. This will help support your process sectionโ€”the active thinking, planning, and creation of your art-making.

  • Processes used (100 characters maximum, including spaces)โ€”This is more about your "what" and "how". Explanations can involve physical actions, such as "I painted", "I sketched", "I constructed". But they can also be thought-based, such as "I explored", "I mind-mapped", "I polled", "I examined", "I thought about", etc.

  • Size (height x width x depth in inches)โ€”For images that document processes or show detail, students should enter "N/A" for size. For digital and virtual work, students should enter the size of the intended visual display.

Selected Works

Submit five work that demonstrate:

  • 2D/3D/Drawing skills (depending on your portfolio)

  • Synthesis of materials, processes, and ideasโ€”The ability of all of your techniques, material choices, and ideas to work well together and integrate cohesively to demonstrate your ideas effectively.

For each work, state the following in writing:

  • Idea(s) visually evident (100 characters maximum, including spaces)โ€”What was your intent? What you are trying to communicate? What is it you want your viewer to take away from viewing your art? State that here.

  • Materials used (100 characters maximum, including spaces)โ€”What did you use to make the art? This doesn't just have to be things like "paint". You can also say things like: used my original photos, mixed glazes to achieve (whatever special effect), harvested tree limbs, wove a fabric, etc. You should highlight any additional steps you used to create the work. This will help support your process sectionโ€”the active thinking, planning, and creation of your art-making.

  • Processes used (100 characters maximum, including spaces)โ€”This is more about your "what" and "how". Explanations can involve physical actions, such as "I painted", "I sketched", "I constructed". But they can also be thought-based, such as "I explored", "I mind-mapped", "I polled", "I examined", "I thought about", etc.