Exams: 2014 Studio Art Drawing Portfolio Student Samples

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The student works displayed on this page are reproductions of actual works submitted by students in June 2014.

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.

Drawing Sample 1: Sang Heon Lee, Stratford High School, Houston, Texas

AP Portfolio Score: 5

Score: 6, 6, 6

Rationale for Score

  • The artworks presented in this quality section are excellent, displaying well-informed decision making and intention, as well as a successful engagement with experimentation and risk taking.
  • Images 1 and 2 exhibit skillful technical ability in the sensitive blending of drawing and painting. The student's sophisticated handling of line variation (images 1, 2, and 3) supplies contrast and leads the eye from foreground into deep space.
  • Image 4 demonstrates student confidence and an ability to handle the medium with expressiveness. There is an excellent use of color, contrast and movement. Visual vibration is established through the use of warm and cool hues, set off by the interplay of black and white.
  • This work demonstrates an excellent understanding of drawing through advanced visual concepts, composition, and execution.

Concentration Section (Sustained Investigation)

Score: 6, 6

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
My concentration explores the relationship that houses/buildings have with people. This concentration conveys that houses are much more than merely buildings that we reside in. Without homes and buildings, we would not have much of a chance in the harshness of the wild. On the other hand, houses and buildings are made by the hands of humans, thus, we have a mutual relationship with one another. We both live off of each other.

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.
The pieces in my concentration reflect the central idea in that they depict the relationship between houses/buildings and people. In the first and second pieces, the people and houses abstractly combine, conveying unity and emotional attachment to the home. The third piece depicts a hand holding up a house like a holy item which symbolizes the importance of houses to human beings. The fourth image symbolizes the choices people have when choosing a house to live in. The sixth drawing represents our memories imprinted in our childhood home. The ninth drawing depicts a person infatuated in the thoughts of his home. The eleventh drawing conveys the idea that houses confine people and disables people from going out. My art explores the idea that houses and people have multiple relationships.

Rationale for Score

  • In this concentration, the student has created a beautiful series of works that expressively and humorously portray human connection to houses. The concept and the work are unmistakably and coherently integrated throughout.
  • The work exhibits a strong sense of confidence and risk taking. In images 9, 10, 11, and 12 the human connection to houses is inextricably combined in the physical and imaginative space demonstrating the culmination of an original vision.
  • Illustrative skill is most evident in images 9 and 12. In image 9 the use of line conveys texture and provides emphasis and contrast. In image 12, the extension of the arm moves convincingly through space. Scale is evident as the houses transition in size.
  • Overall this work is at an excellent level.

Breadth Section (Range of Approaches)

Score 6, 6

Rationale for Score

  • A broad range of intention is exhibited in this breadth section, including perceptual drawing (image 6), abstracted portraiture (image 12), expressive stills lifes (images 4 and 5) and inventive landscape (images 3 and 10).
  • Material and media are used effectively to express creative ideas. An informed use of line in image 3 successfully delineates the physical environment while rendering an illusion of depth. Color washes flow seamlessly between objective and negative space. In image 10, a firm understanding of linear perspective is apparent while value and color are used to enhance the composition.
  • Image 6 exhibits excellent compositional and technical skill in the cropping of the subject and use of mark making to develop subtle value transitions. Image 12 demonstrates the competent use of color and expressive brushstroke to economically convey gesture and facial expression.
  • The works in this section demonstrate excellent accomplishment.

Fabiola Jimenez, Perth Amboy High School, Perth Amboy, NJ

AP Portfolio Score: 4

Quality Section (Selected Works)

Score: 4, 4, 4

Rationale for Score

  • While the work presented in this section demonstrates a good understanding of drawing, they are at varying levels of accomplishment.
  • Image 1, though delicate in rendering, does not exhibit the same level of detail that results from pushing the use of value seen in image 4. The dramatic lights and darks in image 3 accentuate the form and give the drawing a sense of depth as the hands advance away from the background figure.
  • Confident mark-making is evident in images 3, 4 and 5 with the use of white on black, demonstrating good technical competence and use of drawing materials.
  • Compositionally all works are centrally focused. However, images 3, 4, and 5 tend to fill the format more fully providing a stronger relationship between figure and ground.
  • Overall this work is of good quality.

Concentration Section (Sustained Investigation)

Score 4, 4

Student's Commentary

What is the central idea of your concentration?
I have always liked drawing hands. I like the fact that one can express emotions from simply hands. Hands are tools we use to communicate and show feelings. Which is why I decide to capture them on paper.

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.
When I started to draw I began with pencil because that was the medium I was most comfortable with, as seen in images 2 through 5. I've never really enjoyed using charcoal. But I wanted to challenge myself and incorporate more detail into my drawings. So I got out of my comfort zone and decided to use white charcoal for a change. I discovered I can make more details with white charcoal than I can with pencil. So I made drawings with sets of two hands and that's when images 9, 10, and 12 where created.

Rationale for Score

  • The concentration topic, the hand as a way of expressing emotion, and the work presented are clearly and consistently related.
  • While some of the work is repetitive, some transformation and growth is noticeable, particularly in the later works (images 9, 10, 11, and 12). Risk-taking is evident in the use of the unfamiliar medium, white charcoal, in image 10, resulting in a sensitive study of texture and value.
  • Although the values could be further developed in earlier drawings (images 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6), these works exhibit good observational skills, particularly in image 2 where the student has noted the various cast shadows.
  • Although there are varying levels of accomplishment among the works presented, overall they are at a good level.

Breadth Section (Range of Approaches)

Score 4, 3

Rationale for Score

  • The works show a good range of drawing media (charcoal, ink, mixed media) and subject matter (still life, anatomy, and portraiture).
  • Some experimentation and innovation are evident in image 10 with the use of the map for a drawing surface. There is a sense of personal confidence in the mark-making.
  • Technical skill varies among the works presented. Images 2, 3, and 8 exhibit better understanding of proportional relationships than that seen in images 4 and 7. Compositionally, image 11 is most successful as it takes into consideration the entire format of the drawing surface and moves away from the center.
  • Throughout the work, the student shows a developing understanding of the use of lights and darks to render form and provide contrast — successfully culminating in the charcoal portrait (image 9).