Navigating AP Art and Design: Building a Portfolio

The AP Art and Design course offers students the opportunity to explore various artistic mediums, techniques, and concepts while building a comprehensive portfolio of artwork. Crafting a successful portfolio requires careful planning, creativity, and attention to detail. In this guide, we'll explore the process of navigating AP Art and Design and offer tips for building a portfolio that showcases students' artistic abilities and creative vision.

1. Understand the Course Structure:

The AP Art and Design course consists of three portfolios: the Breadth Portfolio, the Concentration Portfolio, and the Quality Portfolio. Each portfolio serves a distinct purpose and allows students to demonstrate different aspects of their artistic skills and development.

- Breadth Portfolio: This portfolio showcases a range of artistic experiences and exploration across different mediums, techniques, and subject matters.

- Concentration Portfolio: In this portfolio, students develop a focused body of work that explores a specific theme, concept, or idea in-depth.

- Quality Portfolio: This portfolio features a selection of students' best and most successful artworks from both the Breadth and Concentration portfolios, demonstrating mastery of artistic techniques and concepts.

2. Explore Different Mediums and Techniques:

Experiment with a variety of artistic mediums, techniques, and processes to expand your artistic repertoire and discover your strengths and interests. Explore drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, digital art, photography, mixed media, and other forms of artistic expression. Embrace opportunities to learn new skills and techniques through workshops, classes, and independent study.

3. Develop a Conceptual Framework:

For the Concentration Portfolio, develop a conceptual framework or theme that guides your artistic exploration and inquiry. Choose a theme that resonates with your interests, experiences, and artistic vision. Explore different approaches, perspectives, and interpretations related to your chosen theme, and develop a cohesive body of work that reflects your creative exploration and development.

4. Document Your Process:

Document your artistic process, experimentation, and development throughout the course. Keep a sketchbook or journal to record ideas, observations, sketches, and reflections. Document your progress, revisions, and breakthroughs as you work on individual pieces and develop your portfolios. Capturing your process allows you to reflect on your artistic journey and demonstrate your growth and development to reviewers.

5. Seek Feedback and Critique:

Seek feedback and critique from your teacher, peers, mentors, and professional artists throughout the portfolio development process. Participate in class critiques, workshops, and portfolio reviews to receive constructive feedback on your artworks and ideas. Embrace feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement, and use it to refine your artistic vision and execution.

6. Edit and Curate Your Portfolio:

Select and curate your best and most successful artworks for inclusion in your portfolios. Consider the overall cohesion, balance, and visual impact of your portfolio as a whole. Arrange your artworks in a way that tells a compelling visual narrative and highlights your artistic strengths and accomplishments. Edit your portfolio thoughtfully, focusing on quality over quantity.

7. Prepare Your Digital Submission:

Follow the guidelines provided by the College Board for preparing and submitting your digital portfolio. Ensure that your artworks are properly photographed or scanned to accurately capture their colors, textures, and details. Organize your digital files according to the portfolio requirements, including titles, dimensions, mediums, and descriptions. Review your digital submission carefully to ensure accuracy and completeness before finalizing.

8. Reflect on Your Artistic Journey:

Reflect on your artistic journey, growth, and development throughout the AP Art and Design course. Consider how your artworks demonstrate your creative vision, conceptual exploration, technical proficiency, and personal expression. Reflect on challenges you encountered, lessons you learned, and goals you achieved during the portfolio development process. Embrace the opportunity to celebrate your artistic accomplishments and envision your future artistic endeavors.


Navigating AP Art and Design and building a portfolio requires creativity, dedication, and thoughtful planning. By understanding the course structure, exploring different mediums and techniques, developing a conceptual framework, documenting your process, seeking feedback and critique, editing and curating your portfolio, preparing your digital submission, and reflecting on your artistic journey, you can create a portfolio that showcases your artistic talents, creativity, and potential. Embrace the opportunity to express yourself, explore new artistic horizons, and make a meaningful contribution to the world of art and design.