Exams: 2013 Studio Art 2-D Portfolio Student Samples

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2-D Design

The student works displayed on this page are reproductions of actual works submitted by students in June 2013.

All of the samples here were chosen because they clearly represent different points on the scoring scale. In the course of the AP evaluation, each section of the portfolio is scored on a six-point scale. Once the evaluation is complete, the various scores assigned to each student's portfolio are combined and transformed into the final AP grade of 1-5.

Note: With the exception of a small number of spelling corrections and clarifications (in brackets), all information in the commentaries is transcribed exactly as the students wrote it.

Media and dimensions for the works shown are based on information provided by each student. In some cases minor revisions have been made for clarity.

Each group of works is accompanied by a brief rationale for the scores awarded to the works. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the students who have agreed to share their works in this way.

Click an image to view a larger version.

2-D Design Sample 1: Anderson Shimmin, Highlands Ranch High School, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

AP Portfolio Score: 5

Quality Section

Score: 6

Rationale for Score

  • These works demonstrate highly successful application of 2-D design principles. Image 1 expresses visual balance with shape, text, and color. Unity is articulated through a limited palette and the repetition of architectural forms.
  • Well-informed decision making and intention are apparent in the work.
  • Work displays original, imaginative, and inventive arrangement of text and image to communicate an idea. For example, in image 2 the text suggests waves. The background contributes to this visual image without interrupting readability.
  • The work expresses confidence and nuanced subtlety. In image 5, the nuanced subtlety of the background, with its watercolor application evokes the evolution of a diamond. This detail is then reflected in the heading's font color choice.
  • Technically confident, the work is pristine and shows masterful attention to detail and craftsmanship. Image 4 shows the application of corporate product design in both 2-D and 3-D forms. The work is appropriately photographed, and the professional presentation of the final concept is exceptional.

Concentration Section

Score 6

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?

The central idea for my concentration is information graphics with the influence of watercolor. I was really striving to create fine art elements within a commercial prompt. The commercial aspect was important to me because as a graphic designer I wanted to appeal to the industrial side of the arts rather than just the fine art. This quickly proved to be an exceptional challenge because infographics as a whole present a different idea with each piece of information.

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers.

In my concentration, water color [sic] and natural textures were the primary theme that connected my pieces together. I started out with ambient brush strokes overlaid over a sharp threshold of lines as shown in [images] 1 and 2. When I continued to develop and ponder over my concentration I started incorporating the ambience and natural patterns of the watercolor restricted within the hard lined shapes of the object. The background was almost as important as the information itself in my designs. Originally being exclusive to vector art I began experimenting with watercolor in the information as well as the background. By creating sharp contrast between vector art and watercolor I successfully brought attention to my concentration; together, they form a more effective piece both visually and readably. I also considered format, shape, and size an important decision because each aspect significantly contributed aesthetically to my pieces. In addition to the visual aspects, my choice of information developed greatly over the course of this experience. I wanted to attempt many types of information from maps such as [images] 3 and 8, to timelines such as [image] 9. I really wanted to discover how my stylistic approach could be applied to a variety of informational types.

Rationale for Score

  • The backgrounds and use of universal iconography enhance the communication of the content.
  • In image 3, the interrupted edge of the border demonstrates risk taking and adds variety.
  • Font choices are illustrative of the message and enhance readability.
  • The grid systems explore a range of solutions. For example, image 4 explores a radial system whereas image 12 exhibits a more traditional linear structure.
  • Line, color, and texture are confidently activated by design principles to organize information and communicate ideas. Examples include images 4, 7, 8, and 9, which explore concepts including tree rings, bubbles, mountains, and iconic American imagery.
  • The hand-rendered watercolors create striations, transparencies, and textures, establish an organic quality, and marry well with the digital application of text.

Breadth Section

Score 6

Rationale for Score

  • The work demonstrates a broad range of 2-D design principles applied to both 2-D and 3-D forms, exploring ideas that range from corporate identity and product design to fine art.
  • The scale, alignment, and proximity of the text engage the viewer and demonstrate a confident personal voice.
  • The application of digital and analog tools and materials demonstrates technical confidence, as seen in images 5 and 11.
  • Color harmonies and contrasts are used to support ideas. This sophisticated approach informs the viewer and articulates the student's personal vision. For example, image 10 explores a playful use of color, whereas image 11 expresses a more subtle approach.

2-D Design Sample 2: Alexandra Morris, J.J. Pearce High School, Richardson, Texas

AP Portfolio Score: 4

Quality Section

Score: 4

Rationale for Score

  • Some of the work is evocative and shows exploration through the layering of text and image. A purposeful choice of materials is used to communicate an idea.
  • In image 3, the emphasis and figure/ground relationships are thought provoking, and the color exploration and line repetition provide unity and variety.
  • In image 4, the student uses recognizable iconography in a humorous composition with layered flowing text that moves the eye to enhance the message.
  • Images 1 and 2 display technical confidence, yet do not engage the viewer with evocative qualities.

Concentration Section

Score: 4

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?

The central idea of my concentration is justice. How people define justice, where it can be found, and how different sides of a conflict view justice.

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers.

In my concentration, I have linked my pieces together by using cultural aspects to portray justice. The idea of justice formed with the dawn of civilization in Babylonian times. Ham[m]urabi's Code is one of the types of rules that came about in this era. In image 1, Ham[m]urabi script is written across an image of an eye and within the eye two figures are seen. These figures appear at the top of the statue upon which Ham[m]urabi's Code is written. When it comes to conflict, there are at least two sides. Justice can differ depending on what perspective one takes. This can be seen in image 3. Justice or injustice can also be seen in the courtroom (image 10), during the [G]reat [D]epression (image 6), during various wars (image 3), and in politics (image 11). Yet what is most interesting to me, is that the things I have previously listed can also be seen as unjust. In image 9, North Korea plays the card game "War" with the United States. In this game only one winner is chosen. The wars our world participates in today are often unjust without a clear winner. But to me the most powerful example of injustice is seen image 12. The Holocaust was one the most unjust events in history, and [in]image 12 Anne Frank is shown in as a broken picture representing Krystal Nocht [sic].

Rationale for Score

  • The overall concentration theme is clearly expressed in the work.
  • The student's voice is evident in the selection of materials and media. The student carefully considers composition, yet rendering skills are not as strong. Overall, the work is of good quality.
  • There is a broad exploration of ways to express the theme, and the work demonstrates growth.
  • Some ideas allude to sophisticated and unique points of view (images 7 and 9), whereas others seem safe and conventional (images 1 and 5).

Breadth Section

Score: 4

Rationale for Score

  • Some work demonstrates the exploration of methods and materials; however, there are uneven levels of accomplishment.
  • Figure/ground relationships in some works are not considered adequately.
  • The student applies repetition, rhythm, scale, emphasis, unity and variety in some of the compositions, although intention is not clear in other works.
  • There is creative exploration (images 2 and 11) yet technical skill is not fully resolved.
  • Images 4 and 12 are good and demonstrate confidence.

2-D Design Sample 3: Alyssa Schuda, Capistrano Valley High School, Mission Viejo, Calif.

AP Portfolio Score: 3

Quality Section

Score: 3

Rationale for Score

  • Overall, the work is of moderate quality, demonstrating some success in the compositions.
  • Technical issues are of concern, as some images are out of focus and others are pixilated. This distracts from the general quality.
  • Image 1 is engaging; however, the application of 2-D design principles is questionable, as seen in the centrality of the composition.
  • Image 3 demonstrates student's voice through attempts at experimental cropping and soft focus; however, the compositional decision making is just emerging.

Concentration Section

Score: 3

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?

The central idea for my concentration is my personal vision of following surfers during a typical day at San Clemente Beach Pier. I can not [sic] remember a time when surfing was not apart [sic] of my life. My father has actively surfed every day since he was my age. I wanted to capture through my lens my memories as a child of watching the surfers as I waited for my father on the sand.

How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea? You may refer to specific images as examples. When referencing specific images, please indicate the image numbers.

Before I stepped foot on the sand, I set my camera to shoot in black and white. My goal was to show that surfing has a timeless feel, which is reminiscent of memories I have of going to the beach as a child. Images 1 [through] 4 I showed a surfboard from multiple angles. The boards are the essence of surfing and I wanted to start my concentration with them. In images 5 [through] 10 I sat down and used my zoom lens to photograph the surfers. This is how I remember my father and all the other surfers looking when I was a small child. Every time I think back to those years I see them in black and white in my head and the figures seem small. It is with those memories that I based my images. The last two images are shot surfers leaving the beach. I photographed them from behind to illustrate the idea of leaving the waves behind. When I was a child, I always walked behind my father. It is this memory that I wanted to bring to life with my camera.

Rationale for Score

  • There is a connection between the work and the concentration topic.
  • There are attempts to create emphasis, but the work demonstrates only a moderate understanding of the principles of 2-D design.
  • The work does not exhibit transformation or growth.

Breadth Section:

Score: 3

Rationale for Score

  • Overall, the work exhibits a limited investigation and application of 2-D principles.
  • Image 5 demonstrates technical competence; however, other works (images 2, 9, and 8) are less successful.
  • Figure/ground relationships are explored with moderate success and often appear less purposeful (images 6 and 11).
  • Innovation and originality are apparent in images 1, 4, 5, and 7.