AP Studio Art Curriculum Expectations

Sarah Margraves. Self Portrait
                                                        Sarah Margraves. Self Portrait. 2016. Watercolor

AP Studio Art Drawing Syllabus

E. Maddy

Sprague High School


Course Description

A.P. Studio Art Drawing is a two semester long course for highly motivated, committed students interested in the study of art. The course emphasizes art making as an ongoing process that involves the student in informed and critical decision making. Students enrolled in this class are required to complete summer homework and invest a considerable amount of work outside the classroom.

Purposeful decision making is stressed while incorporating the elements (line, shape, color, value, texture, space) and principles of design (unity/variety, balance, emphasis, contrast, rhythm, repetition, proportion/scale, and figure/ground relationships) as it relates to drawing. Visual thinking, creativity, skill and technical development as well as critical analysis will be stressed.  Students are encouraged to explore a variety of mediums including drawing, printmaking, and painting.

 As the student progresses, independent thinking is encouraged with integration of ongoing critiques from teacher and students. This critique process will become part of the assessment grade for the course. Learning to take risks, being inventive and applying technical skills are central to this course.

A portfolio of 24 slides will be presented to the College Board as part of the exam process. The work submitted in the portfolio may include art created before and outside of the AP Studio Art course.

Plagiarism is discussed and students are taught different aspects including the difference between copying other work and being inspired by it. Students will be made aware of the AP College Board policy: "IF you submit work that makes use of photographs, published images, and/or other artists' works, you must show substantial and significant development beyond duplication. This may be demonstrated through manipulation of the formal qualities, design, and/or concept of the original work. 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."

Course Goals

Sustained investigation of the 3 aspects of the portfolio development (Quality, Concentration, and Breadth). Emphasis on art making as an ongoing process that uses critical and informed decision making by the student. Develop mastery in concept, composition and execution. Encourage creative and systematic exploration of formal and conceptual issues in drawing. Encourage students to become creative problem solvers, independent thinkers and contribute creatively and critically to their culture through their art


Assist students in developing their skills and techniques in working in a variety of media through the application and use of the elements and principles of design. Teaches students about artistic integrity and the meaning of plagiarism.

AP Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio Requirements

The Drawing Portfolio will consists of a total of 24 slides of your artwork, which is broken down into 3 categories. The first category requires five works of art which must be physically submitted to the College Board. 

Along with the 24 pieces of artwork, students will be expected to participate in weekly critiques of their work every Monday.

Section I: Quality

This section of the course encourages students to develop mastery in concept, composition, and the execution of drawings. The works chosen to submit under this section will represent accomplishments in these areas. They may be chosen from the Concentration and/or Breadth sections if desired. They may be related or unrelated works or a combination. A total of 5 original works are required to be submitted under this section.

Section II: Concentration

        This section of the course encourages students to devote themselves to an in-depth investigation of a specific visual idea. Work submitted under this section will be coherent and unified by an underlying idea based on a particular individual visual interest. This related group of works will exhibit evidence of a process of exploration, discovery and growth over time. This work will evolve from the initial plan and ultimately develop its   own visual language.  Work submitted under this section may NOT be submitted in the Breadth section. A total of 12 slides that best represent this process of investigation and the development of this concentration are required in this section.

Section III: Breadth

This section of the course encourages students to produce a variety of works that demonstrate a clear understanding of drawing issues that would be encountered when drawing from observation or working with invented or nonobjective forms. Artworks submitted for this section will show that the student was engaged with a range of drawing concerns that include effective use of light and shade, line quality, surface manipulation, composition, various spatial systems, and expressive mark-making. Although students may choose to use a single medium for work representing the Breadth section, the work must show a range of approaches, techniques, compositions, and subjects. A total of 12 slides of 12 different works that best represent an understanding of drawing issues may be submitted. Detail slides may not be submitted. Work used for the Concentration Section may NOT be used for the Breadth Section.


The scoring guidelines for the AP portfolios contains score points from 6 (excellent) through 5 (strong), 4 (good), 3 (moderate), 2 (weak), and 1 (poor). Your work will be graded using the key scoring descriptors used by the College Board. Because there are only six different points on the scale, each score point represents a band or range of accomplishment. The descriptors (taken as a whole) capture characteristics of work that merits each score. Key Scoring Descriptors A. Understanding of Composition, Concept, and Execution B. Intention or Purpose C. Originality, Imagination, and Invention in Using the Elements and Principles of Design in Drawing Composition D. Decision Making, Experimentation, and Risk Taking E. Confident, Evocative Work that Engages the Viewer F. Technical Competence and Skill with Drawing Materials and Media G. Understanding the Use of Digital or Photographic Sources H. Appropriation and the Student “Voice” I. Overall Accomplishment and Quality In applying these descriptors, consider the content, style, mark making, and use of media in the work.

Each Monday students will be required to attend group critique.  This will be worth 50 points; 25 points for having work in the critique, 25 points for participation.  Your work MUST be up on the wall during critique.  Only work that is 80% finished or more will be discussed during critique time.  This will be a chance for students to receive helpful advice and make changes to their work.   Artwork will be due and graded in class the Thursday or Friday after critique NO EXCEPTIONS!

Due to the high amount of work required to have a complete portfolio, student will be expected to complete 1 work of art every 2 weeks. Late work will NOT be accepted

Subpages (1): Summer Homework