AP Studio Art: 2-Dimensional Design

On line for the 2012-2013 School Year

Teachers: Dianne Settino & Linus Meldrum

Email: spiderdance@pa.net

This course will have two different strands:

-          Those in 2D Design will employ a variety of 2D media and methods, which may include some photography.


-          Those in 2D Design Photography will focus on photography only, but will utilize many of the same principles and assignments as the varied-media 2D Design.  


Tech Needs: High Speed Internet needed for fast transfer of large image files.  Digital camera (8+megapixels recommended) to photograph, standard software to format and send images online.

Textbooks: (buy used on Amazon.com) Required:  DESIGN Principles and Problems by Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat Fisher, plus any comprehensive college level Art History textbook for reference. Usually the oldest editions of both these books will be the cheapest and that’s fine. Reading assignments will be given by chapter not page number.

Class Tuition Fee: $595.

Materials Kit Cost: approximately $150. to $200. Students use materials in different ways.

Estimated Weekly Time Commitment: Average 12 – 15 hours.

Prerequisite: AP Drawing or its equivalent, including any course from a college, or art association that has prepared you with basic drawing skills.

An AP Studio Art course is a very different animal from all the other AP courses and exams. These courses require the students to create their exam responses (two finished portfolios of 12 drawings each) over the school year as they complete the course assignments. Our students will honestly tell you the necessary pace of the course is demanding; the number of pieces needed for the digital submission (24 finished images) is set in stone by the College Board.

Over the last two years we have been delighted to see immense growth in the young artists in our AP Drawing and Design courses. We are frequently amazed by the tremendously poignant and powerful images they compose. Each and every one of our students has created more than a few masterworks of drawing. The artwork you develop in this course won’t be easily-forgotten, throwaway sketches; the drawings will be substantial, major works. For some students, this work will form the core of their art school and scholarship applications.  For others, these portfolios will be treasured collections the family will pass to the next generation.

Anyone who wants to stretch themselves as an artist will be challenged as they create the 24 pieces of art required for digital submission to the AP Readers in May of 2013.  The students in this class will learn how to think like artists, use the tools of an artist, and communicate visual narratives using the basic Elements of Art, Design and Composition. This class focuses on the classic foundations of art.


Our classes have been composed of young student actors, dancers, musicians, photographers, athletes, swimmers, and a few great fantasy writers.  Each one of these backgrounds has been crucial for informing and nurturing the great art they have created.  Bring your experience and gifts; join us for 2012-2013!


The students in AP 2D DESIGN will learn how to think like artists/designers, use the tools of an artist/designer, and communicate through strong, bold, visual narratives using the basic elements of art, design and composition. This class focuses on using the classic foundational elements of art to design images whose forms are both functional and beautiful.


Who Should Apply?

Mature homeschooled students who are entering grades 10-11 who enjoy the Arts, Art History and any type of creative work. If you are in 9th grade take our AP Drawing course this year, then take this course in 10th grade. Seniors will be accepted only if their senior year is not overloaded with other high level courses. I will talk individually with parents to determine if this course will fit into your senior year.


This course would be an excellent way for a gap year student to discern a career in the arts or build a portfolio for college admissions.


Important Considerations

Students must be able to clearly photograph their artwork, and use camera software to format and upload their homework for weekly critiques. You will learn how to critique your own work, construct your own rubrics and analyze the work of your classmates. You will be reading and writing about visual ideas as you communicate with your fellow classmates and us.


If this is your first year taking AP courses or college level work, you will not be able to take this course as an addition to any other college level or AP course. An absolute weekly minimum of 12 hours is needed to finish the required 24 drawings. Taking this and another AP course in your first year of college-level academics would be overwhelming.


We cannot overstate how rigorous this course is for students. The assignments are challenging; the standards are high.  It must be given the same weight and consideration as any academic course if students are to complete the amount of work necessary, at the level of quality needed, to successfully score in the College Board AP submission.


One issue of great concern to the College Board AP Readers, who score the portfolio submissions, is the issue of plagiarism.  In this course, we will be working from direct observation.  We will also guide you in the possible consideration of your own photographs to use as secondary reference in composition. The College Board will disqualify any artwork derived from any source other than your own.


How to Apply:


We will treat your initial contact with us as similar to a ‘portfolio day’ at a high school.  You show us your artwork; we will make comments and suggestions.  You may do this by sending a group of digital images of any drawings or paintings you have made.  Send 6 pieces minimum (and at least 3 should be drawings from life), no more than 12, please. Original work done from direct observation is best.  We will email back our comments and, if your artwork shows the necessary basic skills to complete the course, we’ll send you a list of four quick sketch assignments that will take approximately 2-4 hours to complete. The ability to complete these assignments will help us determine three important things: your basic art skills when responding to direction, how you follow instructions, and how ready you are to complete a specific creative process leading to a product.


Our application asks for your PSAT or SAT scores. If your scores are on the low side but your artwork shows a good, basic understanding of the visual world, we will work with you. Conversely, if your scores are strong but your artwork has yet to develop, we will show you how to reinterpret your skills into the visual language.  You must be extremely self-motivated, and have an excellent work ethic to be successful in this online Studio class. (If you have not taken these tests yet we may ask you to describe your learning style or submit your scores from any other standardized test you have taken.)




This course will cover what is taught in a basic college-level freshman 2-Dimensional Design course. The emphasis will be on the development of images that have both commercial and fine art applications. Clarity of design and design elements are the emphasis of AP 2D Design. This course provides a foundation for continued studies in, but not limited to, all types of Applied Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Printmaking, Sculpture and the Fine Arts.


AP Drawing builds an emphasis on mark-making. While mark-making could be one of the elements used if it is necessary to the success of a design, AP 2D Design builds an emphasis on strong, graphic, measured, and clear image organization - all part of good design.  


Artwork Subject Matter


The beginning BREADTH Portfolio projects could include: Book cover illustrations, book spot illustrations, CD cover illustrations, Poster illustrations, Graphic Novel pages, Photography of all kinds, Digital Art, Wallpaper, clothing fabric and decor fabric, and more. The Elements of 2- D design will be used to create images that can be used commercially, in home decor, in publishing, and in fine art. We will act as the student’s art director and some of our assignments will come from imaginary clients from various fields.  Our assignments will be shaped in an ongoing week-to-week ‘tweaking’ process to address the strengths and weaknesses of the students’ work. We will find ways to highlight the students’ best art abilities. We will also challenge them with assignments that require them to push their skills to a higher level. It is probable that the Breadth portfolios will be very different student to student. The student is aiming for variety and depth. It may be in various media or it may be in a few.


The CONCENTRATION portfolio will be very different from student to student. The student’s vision is only limited by their technical abilities. They could choose to create: Illustrated Literary images, Graphic Novel pages, Fine Art Photography, Fashion designs, Home Decor Surface designs, Digital Art or a multitude of other unique proposals. We will help the student evaluate their strengths and choose a Concentration that is a good fit for them. Anything that is 2-Dimensional is appropriate.




Students will learn a weekly three-step process to art composition as they complete the two portfolios for the digital application. These steps are:


-IDEATION : The student needs to mentally clarify the needs and desires of the imaginary client.

-Then, the creation of a concept and plan of action to guide the designer’s thinking. At least one hour is needed for this.


-PREPARATORY WORK: Approximately three hours of short works that sketch out the proposed work, sampling and testing visual ideas.


-FINAL WORK:  Approximately 8 hours of creating the finished Design, focusing concept and technique to achieve an image that clearly conveys the ideation.


Each week, students will be required to photograph their Prep Sketching and Final Artwork, format it for viewing, and upload it to the AP Homeschoolers website for review and critiques




The BREADTH PORTFOLIO: Consists of 12 pieces that demonstrate the student’s ability to work successfully in different media using assigned Ideations.  These designs should show a competency in both technique and communicating subject matter. We assign projects that will reinforce the understanding of the elements of art, design and composition. 


The CONCENTRATION PORTFOLIO:  The artist/designers develop their own theme and ideation then explore it in depth through 12 individual pieces.  The student must also create a written statement of intent and a description of their Concentration portfolio pieces in their digital submission.


The Breadth and Concentration Portfolios are arranged in digital format in late April or early May. The College Board provides an online template for you to fill with your digital images.  When complete, you submit it to the College Board by the May deadline.




The QUALITY PORTFOLIO: Consists of 5 actual drawings, selected from the Breadth and Concentration Portfolios. Your AP Coordinator, at the local school of choice that offers AP courses, mails these directly to the College Board.


Basic Course Structure:

Beginning Monday August 27, 2012 we will assign short design projects that will introduce the basic elements of design, art and composition. These initial projects will prepare the students to complete the 12 design assignments of the Breadth portfolio.


Once the Portfolio works begin, students will have one major design due each week. They will work in the Ideation-Preparatory Work-Final Work process as outlined above.


By following the web board posts, students will have opportunities to learn by viewing/commenting on each other’s work and our critiques.   


While we provide subject-specific assignments for the Breadth Portfolio, in the second semester we will guide you in the process of creating your own assignments for the Concentration portfolio.  We will also be a bit like editors to help students create the required writing component of the Final AP Portfolio; this “working statement” will show Portfolio reviewers that the student can analyze and understand drawings. 


Research, idea-building and planning for the Concentration portfolio will begin late in the fall semester. By the spring semester students will begin the artwork for this second portfolio.


Some of the teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction will be individual; some will be forum-style on the AP Homeschoolers WWWBoard. Critique interaction between students is a necessary part of this course.


Instructor Qualifications:


We are a husband and wife team. Our children have participated in many PA Homeschoolers AP courses.


Dianne Settino 

1988 - Present, Homeschooling mom, Port Royal, PA


MFA 1984, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT

BFA 1981, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. MD

Fine Arts Technical Degree 1979, York Academy of Art, York, PA


I’ve taught drawing, color, painting, printmaking and many types of crafts to children as young as 18 months in a Montessori school and adults as old as 98 in Baltimore’s inner city Arts for the Aging program. I’ve also taught in public schools, private colleges, state universities, art associations, libraries and at our local homeschool co-op. My last child at home is helping me to expand my art horizons into areas that didn’t even exist when I was 15!


 Linus Meldrum 

1988 – Present, Homeschooling Dad, Port Royal, PA 


MFA 1983, Yale University School of Art, Yale New Haven, CT

BFA 1981, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN


I currently teach Painting, Drawing, Graphic Narrative and Art History at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH.   Previously, I taught at The Yale School of Art, Central Connecticut State University and The Pennsylvania School of Art & Design.  For the last 15 years, I have owned and operated Spiderdance Ranch, an Art and Craft manufacturing business.


Click here to read class reviews from participants 
Return to the PA HOMESCHOOLERS® Home Page
Return to the AP Internet Classes Home Page