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What happens when you don’t know what questions to ask?

So you really love making art, you think that you’re pretty good it, but you have no clue what to do next.

You’ve taken lessons, watched youtube videos, and thought about highering a private tutor, but you know that being an artist is about more than being able to make pretty things, but you just aren’t sure what else you need to know.

The internet is an amazing tool, really it’s what brought the two of us together. But sometimes you don’t know what questions to ask. And sometimes you just want to have a conversation with a person, that knows how to help you.

That’s where AP Art courses come into play + since they’re online you can take them from anywhere have a flexible schedule. To help you to better understand AP Art, below you’ll find a series of videos that walk you through the parts of the portfolio and lead you through one of the first exercises that we do in the class.

If watching the videos gets you excited.

If you’ve been wanting to push your work forward. Then join one of the AP Art or Art History classes.
Today’s videos are to help you to get a better understanding of the different parts of the portfolio, and what they look like.

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Developing a central idea


You’re going to be diving in and developing a central idea for your concentration. Pinterest is a great tool to use, to get ideas, inspiration, and to help you understand your personal aesthetic.


If you don’t already have a pinterest account, go ahead and create one, they are free and easy to use.


As you are creating your boards, you can make them public, or create secret boards, whichever you feel more comfortable doing is fine.  ( you’ll find your secret boards down at the bottom of your profile page)


When you’re pinning images to your board, don’t spend a  lot of time thinking or analyzing, simply pin things that you like how they look. The analyzing will come later.


Create boards that focus on the following topics:


nature ( at least 20 images)

architecture ( at least 20 images)

art ( at least 20 images)

clothing / fashion ( at least 20 images)


After finding all images, go back and look at the boards and answer the following questions. The goal is to start to become aware of what you’re drawn to, and to get a better understanding of your personal voice.


  1. What are the top 3 colors that you see repeating in your images?
  2.  What kind of line do you see repeating throughout your images?
  3. If you had to use 3 words to describe commonalities between your images what would those 3 words be?
  4. What common textures do you see in the images that you pinned?


Idea Generation Chart


You’re going to create a chart that helps you to solve one of your problems, or answers one of your questions. This purpose of the chart is to give you new ideas and combinations that you might not have thought of before.


My question: How do I make the perfect scarf?



The top row  is where you are going to come up with different categories that fit into your questions. Yours may or may not be the same as mine.


After creating the chart, you will have a whole list of new combinations to play with that you might not have thought of before. It’s also a great tool to have around when you’re stuck and having trouble coming up with an idea or solution. See below to look at some examples of combinations.


  1. material
  2. size
  3. extras
  4. technique
  5. occasion
thin cotton long and wide grommets plain weave keep warm in winter
silk long and skinny leather crochet to wear to work
wool short and wide crochet knit special occasion
tencel short and skinny tapestry in-lay knitting machine for spring
chunky cotton extra long and extra wide snapes pattern weave for everyday
blend square hooks mix for a gift



To come up with your combinations, you are taking one idea from each column.


  1. thin cotton + long and wide + grommets + plain weave + keep warm for winter
  2. Thin cotton + long and skinny + leather + knit + special occasion
  3. tencel + extra long and extra wide + snaps + plain weave + for everyday
  4. blend + short and skinny + hooks + mix of techniques + for a gift


Your Turn



You don’t need to take the time to write out every combination… that could take a while. But play around with some of the options and see if there are some new ideas that emerge or combinations that you’re excited about seeing what would happen.



To get started you need to come up with a problem that you want to solve. You’re working towards coming up with a statement that will drive your concentration… but you don’t need to have a statement yet.


Next, you need to come up with your 5 categories… if you can’t come up with 5 you can do less, but I would recommend having at least 3.


Then fill in at least 4 boxes under each topic.





Possible combinations:
































It’s time to start making some art. You’re going to create 10 small, experimental pieces. Feel free to do them in your sketchbook. I want you to start to flush out each idea from above on a sketchbook page. The goal is get your mind flowing. Don’t spend more than 45 min on each idea.



Now that you have some ideas on paper, it’s time to start to put your idea into words. Your central idea should be clear and concise. It should also be something that you’re extremely interested in as you’re going to be exploring it over 12 pieces.


Write 5 central ideas that interest you for your concentration.



















What is the central idea of your concentration?

The complexity of the human mind has always been fascinating to me. My concentration expresses an exploration of the development of thought and the inception of idea through scenes of awe and wonder. By capturing a moment of inspiration or concentration paired with a physical manifestation of thought I wish to give the viewer a greater understanding of the processes of their own mind and the connection ones personal perspective has with the reality around them.



What is the central idea of your concentration?

The central notion of my concentration was “Birds of a Feather Flock Together.” This idiom was explored within the works as well as the gradient of beliefs from traditional western world views to a more spiritual take on life and death.


What is the central idea of your concentration?

The central idea of my concentration is to capture the essence of my cats’ individual personalities. I explore these qualities through their poses and body language as well as color and expressive mark making.


What is the central idea of your concentration?

The central idea of my concentration is portraits of people. My favorite part of art is drawing people because there are so many possibilities on how you can express a person emotionally and physically. In the first few portraits, I started with close ups because I wanted to focus on one part of a face. I then evolved on to drawing bigger pieces with the whole face. I began experimenting with different mediums and as my work progressed I started adding more emotion and detail to my pieces.