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1.1 Getting Started With the Basics

3 min readโ€ขfebruary 10, 2023

AP Art & Designย ๐ŸŽจ

18ย resources
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Formulating Ideas for Making Your Art

In the Unit Overview, we discussed materials and processes for making art that could lead to a fruitful portfolio idea. While materials depend on the artist themselves and what they're comfortable with, the process of finding an idea that works and expanding on it can be difficult, requiring a lot of fine-tuning and alteration of the final product.

The Art-Making Process

The process of creating art can involve various stages such as research, planning, sketching, and revisions. A common technique artists use is called a mind map. Recall earlier, when idea-making was about quantity > quality. A mind map allows you to do exactly this, creating as many quick links between concepts in your head.
It starts with a central idea and can branch out to smaller, more specific ideas. These little branch-offs could come to be individual pieces in a portfolio with enough time and consideration! When the mind map narrows and concrete concepts start to form from those loose ideas, that's when quality starts to matter! Focus more and more on the ideas that give you better inspiration, but never hesitate to add more ideas to your list.


Of course, as an artist, there are mediums that you explore that can shape your art-making differently. For example, a photographer may use a camera to create a bunch of different shots, which a painter has one shot to put an idea on their canvas.
It's important to keep in mind that sometimes the most unexpected materials can become the most inspiring, and by using them, artists can come up with unique and creative pieces.
It's always a good idea to research what materials are best suited for the type of art you want to create and to experiment with different options to find the materials that work best for you. Experimentation is art! If you draw, pick up a camera! If you're a sculptor, find some paints! Even digital art is new to most of us; finding what makes your art unique to you is important. Don't be afraid to mess up!

Ideas Part Two

There are countless ideas for making art, and new ones can come from personal experiences, observations, emotions, and anything that triggers creativity. Portraits and landscapes are some common starting ideas for photographers, painters, and other artists that focus on detail or still-life work. Abstract art is another form of art that has gained popularity; without a definite subject or goal, abstract art utilizes the imagination as well as colors and textures to evoke feeling and emotion. Street art like graffiti or murals are becoming much more popular among younger generations, and can even turn into an art installation. Art installations and galleries are fantastic places to also garner inspiration for your own art-making! Other ideas include digital manipulation*, collage, and more. Finding obscure ideas like these can come from art books, research, and other art-making methods. Art practically has no limits; go explore!
*Depending on your chosen medium, the College Board has specific rules in place regarding "excess" digital manipulation for art portfolios. Make sure to consult their rules as well as with your instructor before submitting a "heavily edited" piece.
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๐Ÿ”–Unit 1: Course Overview
๐ŸฅUnit 2: Portfolio Design Skills
๐Ÿค”Unit 3: Portfolio Analysis
๐Ÿ’ฏUnit 4: Exam Rubrics
๐Ÿ’กUnit 5: Tips and Tricks
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