For more information on the AP Course, see the Course Expectations link.
Summer work is an essential part of the AP Studio Art course. Summer assignments help alleviate the pressure during the school year of producing the many quality pieces needed for a successful portfolio. During the summer prior to the AP school year, you are expected to complete twenty sketches and six art assignments (listed below) in the media of your choice, which will all be due on the first day of the school year. Completing more of these pieces than required will only put you that much further ahead when school starts. Consider each piece’s potential for inclusion in your portfolio for the AP exam, and invest the time and effort necessary to produce high quality work. In addition to the sketches and six assignments, you must visit an art museum and document the experience in your sketchbook.
Sketchbook (20+ Sketches)
Your sketchbook should be one of your “best friends” this summer. Carry it with you as much as you can, everywhere! Open it up first thing in the morning and last thing at night and many times in between. Draw in it, write in it, scribble in it, paint in it, glue things into it, cut the pages, tear the pages, change the way it looks to make it look like your own book. At the end of the summer it should reflect YOU and your experiences throughout the summer. Work in your sketchbook is an ongoing process that will help you make informed and critical decisions about the progress of your work. Your sketchbook is the perfect place to try a variety of concepts and techniques as you develop your own voice and style.
In addition to using your sketches to plan your projects, you must complete 20 sketches and spend approximately 30 minutes on each. Sketchbooks should display forethought, good composition, good craftsmanship, and have mature subject matter (avoid trite, overused symbols). These sketchbook assignments should be finished drawings (Sometimes pieces for the Breadth section of the AP Exam come from sketchbooks.). Some of your drawings will focus on line quality, while others will focus on a full range of tonal value and good contrast, and still others will concentrate on subtle color shifts.
If there are drawings in your sketchbook that are outstanding, they may be used in your AP Portfolio Exam.
Guidelines for working in your sketchbook:
- Imperfect drawings are OK; don’t be afraid to make mistakes; make false starts.
- As much as you can, fill the page you are working on. Go off the edges whenever possible. Draw large. Do not make little drawings floating in the center of the page. Make every square inch count for something.
- Return to unfinished drawings. Go back later, change them, and make them into something else. Being able to rescue bad beginnings is the sign of a truly creative mind.
- Fill many, many, many pages of your sketchbook before school begins.
- Put the date on the corner of every page you finish.
- Draw from observation, things you see in the world, NOT from photographs, magazines, etc. Learn to translate the dynamic three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional world. If you are going to use a photograph, tape/paperclip a copy of it to the page.
- Avoid cute, adorable images. This is a college-level art class, so expect your ideas about what makes good art to be challenged by others.
- Your sketchbook is a place for risk-taking. Don’t be boring with your work.
For ideas on what to sketch, see the Course Expectations.
Complete each of these. Each should take several hours to complete to AP Portfolio Quality.:
1. “Café” Drawings – (This is in addition to the sketches above.) Take your sketchbook to a good location for observing people: the mall, a café, the beach, etc. Fill up several pages (at least four) with multiple drawings of people (and other things) on each page. You should have AT LEAST ten good figure sketches. Try to capture people in their natural habitats and in activities that are relatively stable: reading, eating, waiting in line, etc. (Do not have people knowingly pose for you.). Capture the entire figures as much as possible. Indicate their environments as much as possible.
Some artists to view/study before doing this assignment (Look them up, specifically looking for “figure sketches”:
examples of cafe sketches
2. Multi-Figure Narrative – Make a fully-realized artwork that tells some type of a “story”. It must have several human figures interacting with each other and with their environment (“Environment” doesn’t necessarily mean outdoors.). It may be a drawing or a painting, and it must be either full value or full color. Focus on pictorial composition, considering the principles of art and other art concepts such as the implied triangle. You may have people pose for you, or you may use photographic references (especially if you take the photos yourself.), but it must not be a copy of a single photograph. The figures may be stylized rather than realistic if you choose.
Some artists to view/study before doing the Multi-Figure Narrative assignment:
Francisco Goya (particularly The Caprices and The Third of May, 1808)
Auguste Renoir (particularly The Boating Party Lunch)
Mary Cassatt (particularly The Boating Party)
Chris Van Allsburg (children’s book illustrator: Jumangi and The Polar Express)
3. Abstract Design – Create a color design that utilizes the principles of art to maximize visual impact. Consider color theory (In fact, study the color relationships in the paintings of the artists below, and use their color palettes or some thoughtful variation.). This is an abstract or non-objective artwork. If you are not satisfied with your first attempt, keep trying until you’ve created something you want to hang on your wall. Work until you impress yourself.
Some artists to view/study before doing this assignment:
4. Museum Visit – Refer to the list of museums on the Resources page of the Art Department’s website (www.burlingtonhighschoolart.org). Visit one of them. Take your sketchbook.
a. In your sketchbook, describe the experience of the museum visit. What are the first things that you notice when you walk in the front doors? What do you notice about the space, the environment? Describe what you see and feel and why that has caught your attention. Be as specific as possible.
b. In your sketchbook, write a full page (in essay form, not notes) about two different artists’ paintings of the same subject matter. Compare and contrast approaches. Use the 4-step critique process when evaluating the works: Describe the work in detail, then Analyze it (i.e. what do you notice about composition, color theory, the use of the principles of design, technique, etc.), Interpret (What does it mean? Why did the artist make the choices he/she did?), and Judge/Evaluate (What works about it? What doesn't?) Write one paragraph for each of those four steps.
c. Draw full-value thumbnails sketches of both artworks. Your thumbnail drawings should indicate dark, middle and light tones to truly capture the basic composition of each, but will not focus on detail.
5. Concentration ideas – Generate a new list of at least ten different GREAT possibilities for your senior-year concentration series (Some of these can be more developed versions of previous ideas, if you’re still interested in them.). Describe each idea in a few sentences (NOT just a few words -- be thoughtful about it.), being clear on what your main objective(s) will be. Each of these ten ideas should really be something you’d love to do for two months or more. Each idea would be for a series of at least twelve pieces. Do not try to complete the list in one sitting. Think about it over time and develop the ideas, don’t just list them.
Look at the work of contemporary artists to get a sense of the wide variety of concepts and approaches being used today. You can find many contemporary artists by going to the PBS website for its Art21 program at http://www.pbs.org/art21/ .
Also, view sample Concentration portfolios of previous AP students at the following links:
2D Design: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/exam/exam_information/220017.html
Here is what your concentration list might look like: Concentration Ideas Samples
Choice Projects (2)
Complete two of these. Each should take several hours to complete to AP Portfolio Quality.:
1. Landscape – This is observational (from life, not a photo). Make a painting of an interesting place other than your home; a vacation spot would be a good choice. The illusion of three-dimensional space should be a major concern. Consider atmospheric (aerial) perspective and, if relevant, linear perspective. If you choose a location far from home, watercolor may be a good medium to use because of its portability, but the medium is up to you. Suggestion: Do a series of thumbnail sketches to work out the composition. Work from life, not from photographs. Make every effort to work plein air – meaning drawing or painting outdoors. You will have better light and will be able to focus on the color you actually see.
Some artists to view/study before doing this assignment (Look them up, specifically looking for “landscape painting”):
Vincent Van Gogh
2. Still Life – Using the color medium of your choice, paint a still life comprised of at least three visually interesting objects. Work large (at least 18 x 24”). Build a strong composition. Observational accuracy is key; notice the relationships between shapes, both positive and negative. Notice subtle color changes. Mix colors with specificity and accuracy. Establish form via chiaroscuro and color changes. Demonstrate your ability to create a rich range of tonal value.
Some artists to view/study before doing this assignment (Look them up, specifically looking for “still life”):
Vincent Van Gogh
Dik F. Liu
You may do one or more of the following instead of either the landscape or the still life:
3. After developing your ten ideas for potential concentrations, you may complete one or two of them to AP Portfolio Quality to substitute for the landscape and/or the still life. i.e. Instead of doing the landscape painting, you can complete one piece from one of your Concentration Ideas. Instead of the Still Life, you can do another piece from a different Concentration idea.
4. Dissection: Do a study of an object that you have taken apart. Arrange the parts on a surface with other objects related or not related and study the TEXTURAL qualities. Some ideas would be a mechanical object, a child’s toy, a makeup bag, your bin of art supplies, ingredients for a cooking recipe, a few apples or other fruit cut apart…anything where you are creating a still composition out of something that has been dissected or disassembled.
5. A self portrait expressing a mood. How can you use color to convey that mood? What style will work best for you in this work? You might create a composition with multiple self-portraits with different expressions and/or from different angles. Do some research online or at an area museum to see how different artists create self portraits and what techniques and media they use. Use an odd/extreme angle and consider strong light/dark contrast.
6. Still life arrangement of three or more reflective objects. Your goal is to convey convincing representation. Sketch and shade for contrast and drama. Consider doing this as a self portrait – draw yourself distorted in a shiny object.
7. A drawing of an unusual interior – for example, look inside a closet or cabinet, in the refrigerator, under the car’s hood or inside the medicine cabinet.
8. A still life arrangement of objects representing members of your family. You must have at least three objects and use an unusual viewpoint or angle. Put the objects on the floor and stand up looking down at them.
9. A close up of a bicycle/tricycle from an unusual angle with strong light/shadow. Don’t draw the bicycle from the side view.
10. Shoes -- Create a still life arrangement consisting of your family members’ shoes. Try to convey the different personalities of your family members through the rendering of the shoes. Be creative and have fun! This assignment can be done in monochrome (black, white, gray) and/or in color using any medium, technique and style you desire.
11. Create an artwork as a political or social statement. Before you begin the art, write your statement out in detail to develop your ideas, and draw thumbnail sketches to compose your image.
12. Using media of your choice, design a CD cover for an imaginary musician or group, or for any local band that you personally know. It must be totally original (No copies of someone else’s photographs).
14. Create an fully-realized artwork that illustrates a scene from a book (a novel or children’s story). Research contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley’s work, Rembrandt’s many biblical scenes, and the work of children’s book illustrators Maurice Sendak and Jan Brett.
15. You may try your hand at one of the Concentration Ideas Samples.