AP Studio Art, 2-D Design Portfolio
Syllabus for Digital Photography students
A year-long course (two semesters): 10 Credits
Prerequisite: Computer (Applications) 1 or equivalent, Digital Photography and consent of instructor
Grade Levels: 10-12
Materials Cost (“Art Lab Fee”): AP Art class costs $25 per semester for supplies and materials. The AP Exam
fee is approximately $80 (reduced fee available for those with financial need)
Teacher: Michelle Townsend, BA Art CSU Sacramento, In progress: MA Art Education CSU Sacramento
Contact: Email is best! firstname.lastname@example.org
Inderkum High School Mission Statement: Inderkum High School is committed to working collaboratively
with all stakeholders in order to provide a high quality instructional program focused on academic excellence,
career planning and positive social involvement.
The AP Studio Art, 2-D Design portfolio is 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. These portfolios are produced while following the Inderkum High
School curriculum established for this course. Students receive a course grade and then their portfolios are
evaluated by the College Board.
AP Studio Art sets a national standard for performance in the visual arts that contributes to the significant role
the arts play in academic environments. This College Board program provides this standard for performance
in the visual arts that allows students to earn college credit and/or advanced placement while still in high
school. The AP Program is based on the premise that college-level material can be taught successfully to
secondary school students.
In essence, the AP Program is a cooperative endeavor that helps high school students’ complete college-
level courses and permits colleges to evaluate, acknowledge, and encourage that accomplishment through
the granting of appropriate credit and placement. Please note that it is ultimately up to each college to award
credits for the student portfolio.
AP Studio Art is for highly motivated students who are seriously interested in the study of art; the program
demands significant commitment. The quest for quality of both production and experience in AP Studio Art
makes active demands not only on the students but also on the teachers and on the school itself. Students
will need to work outside the classroom, as well as in it, and beyond scheduled periods. Group and individual
critiques enable students to learn to analyze their own work and their peers’ work. Ongoing critical analysis,
through individual critiques, enables both the students and the teacher to assess the strengths and
weaknesses in the work.
The instructional goals of AP Studio Art, 2-D Portfolio (Digital Photography) are:
• To encourage creative and systematic investigation (design process) of formal and conceptual issues.
• To emphasize making art as an ongoing process that involves the student in informed and critical
• To help students develop technical skills and familiarize them with the functions of the visual elements.
• To encourage students to become independent thinkers who will contribute inventively and critically to
their culture through the making of works of art.
The AP Studio Art Development Committee recognizes that there is no single, prescriptive model for
developing a rigorous, college-level studio art course. The portfolios are designed to allow freedom in
structuring AP Studio Art courses while keeping in mind that the quality and breadth of work should reflect
first-year college-level standards. This AP course addresses three major concerns that are constants in the
teaching of art:
1) A sense of quality in a student’s work
2) The student’s concentration on a particular visual interest or problem; and
3) The student’s need for breadth of experience in the formal, technical, and expressive means of the artist.
AP work reflects these three areas of concern: Quality, Concentration and Breadth.
STRUCTURE OF THE 2-D DESIGN PORTFOLIO
This 2-D Design Portfolio addresses two-dimensional (2-D) design issues. Design involves purposeful
decision making about how to use the elements and principles of art in an integrative way. The principles of
design (balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm/repetition, unity/variety), articulated through
the visual elements (line, shape, color, value, texture, space), with proportion/scale and figure/ground
relationships help guide artists in organizing compositions to communicate content. Good design is possible
whether one uses representational, abstract, or expressive approaches to making 2-D designs.
For this portfolio, students must demonstrate mastery of 2-D design through any two-dimensional medium or
process, including, but not limited to digital photography, graphic design, digital imaging and illustration.
Videotapes, three-dimensional works, and photocopies of a student’s work in other media may not be
submitted. All work must be original. It is unethical (constituting plagiarism), and often violates copyright law,
to copy an image (even in another medium) that was made by someone else.
The 2-D Design Portfolio has a basic, three-section structure, which requires the student to show a
fundamental competence and range of understanding in visual concerns (and methods). The Quality section
(Section I) permits the student to select the works that best exhibit a synthesis of form, technique, and
content. The portfolio is a demonstration of a depth of investigation and process of discovery through the
Concentration section (Section II). In the Breadth section (Section III), the student is asked to demonstrate a
serious grounding in visual principles and material techniques.
The outline below summarizes the section requirements for each of the three portfolios. All three sections are
required and carry equal weight, but students are not necessarily expected to perform at the same level in
each section to receive a qualifying grade for advanced placement. The works presented for evaluation may
have been produced in art classes or on the student’s own time and may cover a period of time longer than a
single school year.
Section I: Quality
Rationale: Quality refers to the total work of art. Mastery of design should be apparent in the composition,
concept, and execution of the works, whether they are simple or complex. There is no preferred (or
unacceptable) style or content.
Requirements: For this section, students must submit five actual works in one or more media. Students
should carefully select the works that demonstrate their highest level of accomplishment in 2-D design.
Because of limitations imposed by the shipping and handling of the portfolios, work submitted for this
section must meet certain requirements. The works submitted may come from the Concentration and/or
Breadth section, but they don’t have to. They may be a group of related works, unrelated works, or a
combination of related and unrelated works.
Section II: Concentration
Rationale: A concentration is a body of related works describing an in-depth exploration of a particular artistic
concern. It should reflect a process of investigation of a specific visual idea. It is not a selection of a
variety of works produced as solutions to class projects or a collection of works with differing intents.
Students should be encouraged to explore a personal, central interest as intensively as possible; they are
free to work with any idea in any medium that addresses two-dimensional design issues. The
concentration should grow out of the student’s idea and demonstrate growth and discovery through a
number of conceptually related works. In this section, the evaluators are interested not only in the work
presented but also in visual evidence of the student’s thinking, selected method of working, and
development of the work over time.
Requirements: For this section, 12 slides must be submitted, some of which may be details. Regardless of the
content of the concentration, the works should be unified by an underlying idea that has visual and/or
conceptual coherence. The choices of technique, medium, style, form, subject, and content are made by
the student, in consultation with the teacher. Students are asked to respond questions about their work.
Section III: Breadth
Rationale: The student’s work in this section should demonstrate understanding of the principles of design
integrated with the elements of design and proportion/scale and figure/ground relationships. Students
must therefore be actively engaged with these concepts while thoughtfully composing their art. The work
in this section should show evidence of conceptual, perceptual, expressive, and technical range.
Requirements: For this section, students must submit a total of 12 slides of 12 different works. Detail slides
may NOT be included. This section requires slides of 12 works in which the elements and principles of
two-dimensional design are the primary focus; students must demonstrate that they can thoughtfully
apply these principles while composing their works of art. The best demonstrations of breadth clearly
show experimentation and a range of conceptual approaches to the work. See curriculum outline for
examples of Breadth projects. Students may NOT submit slides of the same work that they are submitting
for the Concentration.
All work in this course must be original. Federal copyright law determines that any creative work immediately
belongs to the artist regardless if it is registered (unless a contract between the creator and purchaser
determines otherwise). Therefore, it should be assumed that any work found in books, posters or on the
internet do not belong to you. If a student uses someone else’s work or image as an inspiration for their own
work, there must be significant alteration to the composition to be considered original. It is unethical and
unlawful for a student to directly copy another work. Any project deemed copied or duplicated will earn no
points and the student will incur Citizenship point deductions.
COURSE CURRICULUM AND PROJECTS
This AP Studio Art course emphasizes digital photography and digital imaging by investigating various forms
of expression and techniques using the principles and elements of design. Students will develop mastery in
concept, composition, and execution. [C2]
Students will be introduced to new photographers, digital artists, artists, and more sophisticated techniques as
points of departure to create work that reflect spirit and vision. By exploring photographic and digital media
with the camera and the computer, students will be able to develop a body of work that reflects a range of
problem solving, ideation and versatility. [C4]
At integral times during the course, students will focus on development of the Concentration section of the AP
Studio Art portfolio. Students will research, keep journals and sketchbooks, participate in class critiques and
individual critiques, and engage in artistic dialogues that will provide inspiration during production. [C6]
Each project has criteria to meet, but the rubrics allow flexibility to develop your style and expression. The
development of the portfolio is an ongoing process that uses informed and critical decision making to
assemble a body of work. [C3]
Work is expected to be of high quality in thought, process, and product. You are expected to use artistic
integrity. Work based on another artist’s work or photos must move beyond mere duplication and become an
expression of your own personal voice and vision. [C7]
This course promotes a sustained investigation of all three aspects of portfolio development (quality,
concentration, and breadth) throughout the duration of the year. (Note: The body of work submitted for the
portfolio can include art created prior to and outside of the AP Studio Art course.) [C1]
Project 1: Rule of Thirds and Photo Composition
This is an exercise featuring Emphasis, Point-of-View, Lighting, Foreground and Background including
internet research (kodack.com) and journaling. [C2] Subject matter includes, but is not limited to:
1. Active hands and texture
2. Feet or shoes and line
3. The human face and value
4. Geometric forms and space
5. Organic forms and space
6. White on white and black on black
7. Glass (transparency) and color
8. Walls and floors (opacity) and shape
Project 2, Option 1: Pinhole Photography replication (Panorama, space)
Based on examples of the pinhole camera research (online) or pinhole photographs taken as homework,
students will use digital editing techniques to replicate or enhance a panoramic view while working with
space. SEE SUMMER ASSIGNMENT
Project 2, Option 2: Photogram replication (Positive/Negative space, contrast)
Based on examples of the photogram research (online) or photogram developed as homework, students will
use digital editing techniques to replicate the contact print or enhance the high contrast image while working
with positive and negative space. SEE SUMMER ASSIGNMENT
Project 3: Thematic, color versus black and white
Students select two themes from the list below and photograph in color and in black and white. Students must
shoot in the appropriate modes with attention to value.
1. Reflections in chrome, windows, water or other reflective surfaces
2. Light through a window
3. Mechanical close-up (motorcycle, car engine, etc.)
4. Floral close-up
4. Architectural detail
5. Dual portrait of friends
6. Foreshortened image
7. Motion or action
Project 4: Kaleidoscope or Mandala (Symmetrical balance, pattern)
Students take an original photo to create a kaleidoscope or mandala-like composition in PhotoShop or
Project 5: Pop Art I (contrast, pattern)
Students continue research on Andy Warhol and take original portrait photographs. Photoshop or Fireworks
features, tools and filters are used to achieve posterization, saturation and repetition.
Project 6: Pop Art II (cubism, rhythm)
Students continue research on David Hockney and take multiple, overlapping photographs (landscape or
interior). Students also revisit the works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque as the innovators of Cubism.
Students experiment with layering in Photoshop or Fireworks.
Project 7: Pop Art III (social commentary through collage)
Students research Robert Rauschenberg and use found images to create a collage that illustrates a
contemporary social issue.
Project 8: Pop Art IV (text and images)
Students research Jasper Johns and use found images with typographical elements to create a collage that
illustrates life in Northern California.
Project 9: Surrealism (juxtaposition, wit)
Students research Rene Magritte and juxtapose an ordinary object with an unrelated scene. After taking
original photos, students use Photoshop or Fireworks to achieve a naturalistic but surrealistic composition.
Project 10: Multicultural Patterns
Students research cultural designs featuring patterns and create a vector-based illustration using Photoshop
or Fireworks. Inspiration may come from native cultures found outside the United States (like Subsahara
Africa tribes, Maori traditions, Aboriginal crafts or Guatamalan textiles).
Project 11: Portraits, formal versus informal
Students will plan and execute formal and informal portraits of the same senior citizen (could be a
grandparent). Interviews will be completed prior to any photography so students may gain a better
understanding of personality and character.
Project 12: Individual choice (Breadth)
Students select previous work to include in the Breadth section of their portfolio. After a class critique,
students will then select from the following project ideas to fulfill the Breadth requirement.
• Employ abstract line, shape, or color to create unity or variety in a composition
• Demonstrate symmetry/asymmetry, balance, or anomaly
• Explore figure/ground relationships
• Develop a modular or repeat pattern to create rhythm
• Organize primary, secondary, tertiary, analogous, or other color relationships
• Investigate exaggerated proportion/scale
• Construct Matisse-style cut-paper self-portraits, interiors, landscapes.
• Distort an interior setting
• Use a grid to distort a self-portrait
• Illustrate an imaginary place
• Design visual puns
• Create a futuristic illustration of a mechanical object
• Work with personal symbols or words (Robert Indiana, Ed Ruscha)
• Assemble photographed body parts with found anatomical drawings
• Draw a funky vector portrait using contours and shapes (David Bates)
• Use text and images to recount a memorable moment (good, bad, jubilant, horrific)
• Compose a radial arrangement
• Combine neutral tones of torn paper shapes (with a variety of textures) to simulate a still life
Project 13: Concentration (ongoing through second semester)
Students will focus on their declared area of interest (Concentration). Students choose the media that best
represents their style and Concentration theme. Students will finish their concentration statement. Students
are encouraged to develop a theme that represents an individual passion or a true interest. The following are
examples of Concentration themes:
• Design and execution of a children’s book
• A series of identity products for imaginary business
• Political cartoons using current events and images
• Series of works starting with representational interpretations and evolving into abstraction
• Exploration of pattern and designs found in nature and/or culture
• Abstractions developed from cells and other microscopic images
• A personal or family history communicated through symbols or imagery
• A series of fabric designs, apparel designs, or weavings on a theme
• Use of multiple modules to create compositions that reflect narrative or psychological events
• Series of landscapes that use color and composition to intensify artistic expression
• A series of self-portraits exploring one's relationship to the past, present, and future
• Creating the new cover girl
• Inside looking out – traffic, favorite places
• Consumer goods: Food, product design, books
• Groups of people doing things (bus, courtyard, home) during different times of day.
• Interior or exterior architectural spaces
• Elaboration, Viewpoints, Simplification, Reversals, Juxtaposition, Metamorphosis, Cubism
• Personal Symbols or words, Visual Puns
Project 14: Portfolio
Students will make the final preparations of their AP Studio Art 2-D Design portfolio.
Students must maintain a journal and sketchbook that demonstrates development of their Concentration
theme. The books will include weekly entries and images that relate to areas of interest. Additionally, students
must choose to do a Pinhole Photograph or Photogram that will relate to Project 2 (see above). There are
many Web sites that explain both processes, but here is a link for a Pinhole Photograph
(http://users.rcn.com/stewoody/) and one for a Photogram
(http://depts.washington.edu/rural/RURAL/resources/photogram.html). Please note that these projects will
take some preparation including shopping for materials.
This is an advanced, college-level course and will require serious work and dedication as an artist. Good
attendance and effort is necessary for a successful portfolio and completion of the required projects. Students
will be assessed by project rubrics, critiques (self, group and teacher), participation and citizenship and
qualitative evaluations. Grading standards will be based a high quality artwork, evidence of creative thinking
and the design process, and craftsmanship.
The computer lab is equipped with Photoshop, Fireworks, Flash, Dreamweaver, Word and Powerpoint. There
are also cameras available for student use (4 Canon A530s and 4 Canon Rebel XT EOS).
The Visual Experience, Jack Hobbs, Richard Salome and Ken Vieth (Department Textbook)
Digital Photography, David Busch
Photo School, Michael Freeman
Photographer’s Trouble Shooter, Michael Freeman
Illustrated Dictionary of Photography, Backhouse/Marsh/Tait/Wakefield
The Photographer’s Idea Book, Richard Platt
The Book of Special Effects Photography, Michael Langford
The Book of Portrait Photography, Jorge Lewinski and Mayotte Magnus
On Assignment: Projects in Photojournalism, Tony Spina
The Book of Color Photography, Adrian Bailey and Adrian Holloway
Pictures That Sell, Ray Daffurn and Roger Hicks
Professional Fashion Photography,Robert Farber
John Hedgecoe’s Advanced Photography, John Hedgecoe
Design Drawing, Francis Ching with Steven Juroszek, John Wiley and Sons
Visual Literacy, Richard Wilde and Judith Wilde
Design Principles and Problems, Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher
Color a workshop approach, David Hornung
C1 The course promotes a sustained investigation of all three aspects of portfolio development—quality,
concentration, and breadth—as outlined in the AP Studio Art Course Description or poster throughout the
duration of the course. (Note: The body of work submitted for the portfolio can include art created prior to
and outside of the AP Studio Art course.)
C2 The course enables students to develop mastery (i.e., “quality”) in concept, composition, and execution of
drawing, 2-D design, or 3-D design.
C3 The course enables students to develop a body of work investigating a strong underlying visual idea in
drawing, 2-D design, or 3-D design that grows out of a coherent plan of action or investigation (i.e., a
C4 The course teaches students a variety of concepts and approaches in drawing, 2-D design, or 3-D design
so that the student is able to demonstrate a range of abilities and versatility with technique, problem
solving, and ideation (i.e., “breadth”). Such conceptual variety can be demonstrated through either the
use of one or the use of several media.
C5 The course emphasizes making art as an ongoing process that involves the student in informed and
critical decision making.
C6 The course includes group and individual student critiques and instructional conversations with the
teacher, enabling students to learn to analyze and discuss their own artworks and those of their peers.
C7 The course teaches students to understand artistic integrity as well as what constitutes plagiarism. If
students produce work that makes use of photographs, published images, and/or other artists’ works, the
course teaches students how to develop their own work so that it moves beyond duplication.