AP Syllabus and How To Use This Blog


Professor: Brenda Robson


Art Blog: BrendaRobson.com

Cell: 214-701-7012 – You may text me any time before 9pm.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Mat: 5:16
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9



A studio course devoted to producing an art portfolio for submission to the College Board for college credit (students choose from the mediums of drawing, 2-D design, and 3-D design). In this course, students work on in-class and out of class projects to build their “Breadth” section (12 projects showing their skill and knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design), and develop their “Concentration” (12 projects reflecting a specific idea that they have chosen to pursue/investigate/ explore visually). Students participate in regular critiques of their work by their peers as well as participate in various field trips to see art being made by master artists. 1 credit (may be repeated for credit). 


To Successfully completed Art II, and Art III or have obtained professor’s permission, by reviewing past art experience, to take the class.


  • To complete the Breadth Section of unrelated pieces in a wide variety of mediums
  • To explore and complete the Concentration Section reflecting the personal vision and submit a written explanation
  • Portfolio Submission: There is not an option of taking the class and not completing a portfolio.
  • Competitions: Students will participate in prestigious juried shows throughout the year such as ATPI (Association of Texas Photography Instructors), Scholastic Art and Writing Competition, and VASE (Visual Art Scholastic Event). VASE requires the student’s presence at the regional event in February. The State event held will be held in San Antonio in April and it is optional to attend
  • Exhibitions: Students are responsible for preparing their artwork for their own art show in May


The goal of this course is to develop the student’s skill in drawing, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and collage and build on the foundation of their studio art design skills.

This year of art will increase student’s observational drawing, photography, technical ability to print and paint and develop personal ideas related to themes and series in art making.


  • Drawing Portfolio: Students will expand their drawing and two-dimensional design skills and advance their visual communication skills by exploring line quality, light and shade, rendering of form, composition, surface manipulation, the illusion of depth in mark making.
  • 2-D Design Portfolio: Students will expand their two-dimensional design skills and advanced their visual communication skills by exploring the principles of design: unity, variety, balance, emphasis, contrast, rhythm, repetition, proportion, scale, and the figure/ground relationship as well as compositional and aesthetic concepts. Students will also learn to expand their range of visual image making ability to see and express an idea through a photographic image as well as camera control
  • 3-D Design Portfolio: Students will expand their three-dimensional design skills and advance their visual communication skills by exploring a variety of design processes and techniques, and compositional, aesthetic concepts and sculptural form.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of content/intent, using visual art to communicate an idea rather than illustrate an object
  • Learn to create visual unity from combining unlike materials or ideas
  • Brainstorm to generate multiple solutions, not settling on the first idea
  • Understand metaphor in visual art
  • Critique their work, gain a working knowledge of why a piece of art is or is not successful
  • Create and maintain a personal web page for photographing and turning in artwork as well as critiquing others enabling the student to view their work as a whole 


  • Students will be taught using lectures and demonstrations. This is a highly individualized course: detailed lessons with visual inspiration are available at BrendaRobson.com. Students can expect guidance but must realize that success in this course is largely due to self-motivation and time management. It is better for the artwork to be on time rather than absolutely perfect. The speed required in AP Art helps a student to gain momentum and forces creative avenues not always discovered in other art classes. Students will study Art History and may take field trips to museums as well as be allowed 2 off-campus photography excursions (with signed parental and professor’s permission) per quarter.
  • Individual, class, and online critiques will be used to teach the students to analyze and improve their work and to continue to pursue their personal vision.


Students will use a variety of mediums such as painting, drawing, printmaking, pen & ink, photography, and mixed media. The student can use photography and graphic based works in the 2D portfolio only. The students will investigate the following subjects throughout the year but the schedule is subject to change.

Quarter 1

  • One completed summer assignment and assigned research
  • A typed statement of intent/concept for the concentration
  • Five to six completed works for the concentration or breadth sections
  • Compete in the Association of Photographer Instructor’s Competition (ATPI)

Quarter 2

  • Five to six completed works for the concentration or breadth sections
  • Prepare/submit artwork for the Scholastic Art competition
  • PowerPoint presentation about at least one historical or contemporary artist and how their work influences the student’s work
  • Semester critique with the instructor

Quarter 3

  • Six completed works for the concentration or breadth sections
  • Compete in person in the regional VASE competition
  • Review of art and photos and make selections for the AP portfolio

Quarter 4

  • Six completed works based on the student’s concentration
  • Photograph all work and submit the AP Portfolio digitally by the Professor’s deadline
  • Frame 5 artworks for the quality section to be physically submitted by the College Board’s deadline
  • Students not submitting a portfolio to the College Board require parental conference and the assignments will still need to be completed in addition to an end of the year final.
  • Create a PowerPoint of the entire portfolio, statement, and advice to next year’s AP art students to be shown at the CSD Art show


Projects/Tests 65%       

  • Based on quality and completion of projects by the deadline: if the piece is excellent but only 70% completed then the final grade is also a 70. Grading will be based on the College Board Rubric.

Homework 25%

  • Based on the use of the Visual Journal Sketch Book use as an integral part of assignments and turned in on time
  • Uploading final artwork to their blog page each day that it is due

Participation 10%

  • Class attendance
  • Participation in critiques online and in class, listening and focusing on artwork
  • Instigating and maintaining personal work in an organized, labeled manner


Late work will be counted 5 points off per each class day the project is late.

Class projects will be due as assigned, according to the complexity of the project. If a student is not using class time appropriately, extensions on in class projects will not be considered and student’s artwork will remain unfinished and graded accordingly. An email to the parent will be sent out if the student is not using class time appropriately. Students may resubmit a project with improvements or corrections at a later date to receive a higher grade but the late penalty will not be removed.


  1. To develop a wider range of photographic skills and become more confident in controls on a DSLR camera, you may need to borrow the school camera and treat it with the utmost care.
  2. Any off-campus excursion privileges will be revoked if students do not return on time or in any way violate this privilege.
  3. Students are expected to arrive on time to class and be prepared to work.  Students must be respectful of each other, their work and the classroom environment during art class.  Students will be required to clean up after themselves and to help maintain the order and cleanliness of the art room on a daily basis. Before a class leaves the art room, the sink and all surfaces must be cleaned, with all supplies put back where they belong. NO PAINT PALLETS OR PAINT BRUSHES ARE TO BE LEFT IN THE SINK.
  4. Students are only allowed to use lunchtime or an off period to complete artwork if they have direct permission and supervision from the professor.
  5. Students are not allowed to use art materials without permission from the professor.
  6. Cell phones are not permitted in the classroom unless it pertains to the assignment with the specific permission from the professor.
  7. All work must be original.  No work can be from another artist or photographer’s reference unless it is changed in three significant ways.

Selections from texts:

Hobbs, Jack; Salome, Richard, and Vieth, Ken. The Visual Experience 3rd ed. (2006)

Luecking, Stephen. Principles of Three-Dimensional Design (2002)

Goldstein, Nathan. The Art of Responsive Drawing (2006)

Mittler, G. Creating and Understanding Drawings. Glencoe (1999)

Pikes, Alan. Introduction to Design (2004).

Roukes, Nicholas. Art Synthetics. Davis Publications (1988)

Joyner, Hermon: Monaghan, Focus on Photography, 1st ed. (2007)



Academic Discipleship: Fostering a Love of Learning with a Passion for Jesus Christ



Professor Brenda Robson

The Cambridge School of Dallas

Email: brobson@cambridgedallas.org

Tel: 214-701-7012

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brenda_robson/

Web: www.brendarobson.com

Ap Art with an emphasis on Digital Photography 

Course Description–This introductory course stresses the photographic process from capture through display. The initial focus is on the ability to see and express an idea through a photographic image as well as camera control. In addition, the class stresses the use of a computer, digital editing, digital manipulation, and use of an organized and orderly post-processing workflow.  The ability to understand and interpret visual imagery is a necessary part of contemporary culture so that students can become active participants rather than passive consumers. I stress four things: composition, seeing light, being present, and realizing that the camera is a tool. (Please see my photographic philosophy page for a more complete explanation.)

While some of the photographic shoots are done during the class period at school, the majority of them are done outside of class—usually with a one to two-week time frame from assignment to critique.

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Know and understand several ways to compose a photograph and what things to watch for as you shoot.
  • Begin the process of seeing light as separate from a subject and how to possibly control it or interpret it.
  • Understand photographic workflow from capture to presentation.
  • Understand cameras—how they differ and how to use them to create a message and meaning in your creative work.
  • Use professional level software for photo editing and creative expression.
  • Produce and maintain a student blog (I use edublogs.org and WordPress for lessons, you will use Blogger) to show and display work and understand computerized workflow.

Description–This is a more advanced course using DSLR cameras with an emphasis on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom software.  Advanced compositing and manipulation, lighting controls, and camera operation are reviewed and expanded.  Students will gain knowledge in career paths of portraiture, product, and documentary photography with an emphasis on the creation of an advanced portfolio.  Concepts and experience in fine art photography are introduced.  Students will be required to explore career areas on photography such as architectural, food, fashion, scientific, sports, travel, and landscape/nature photography.  Workflow, business practices, and interaction with a gallery, printing agencies, stock companies and other related professionals will be introduced.

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Become more confident in controls on a DSLR camera
  • Start to pre-visualize your image at capture
  • Have a wider range of photographic skills
  • Discover which areas interest you most in photography (and which are of little interest)
  • Produce a portfolio of your work
  • Increase your post processing skills in editing and the creation of digital imagery

How To Pass Both Of These Courses

  • Do the Work—all the work—to the very best of your ability
  • Become an active learner rather than a passive one
  • Come to class—on time—ready to learn
  • Meet the deadlines for Class Critiques and show your work
  • Capture and edit your images—the more you shoot the better you will get
  • Be fully present—listen and apply what you learn in order to internalize it-much like learning a sport, practice leads to increased success
  • Play–When I ask you to play, I expect that you will make multiple attempts with whatever we are working on.  The more that you work with an idea, the more mastery, and ideas you will gain.  This is NOT a try it once and give up proposition.
  • Treat equipment with care

Required Materials

  • Students need to have a portable USB storage device (flash drive, thumb drive) to move images from home to school. (Email is erratic for student access and images can be very large files.)
  • Access to a digital camera (Point and Shoot, or DSLR preferred.) Most assignments can be done with a cell phone but we will need to know the basics first. While we do have some DSLR cameras for in-class use, we do not yet have enough to allow every student to borrow one overnight.

Next, some blog rules:

  • DO take pride in your own work.
  • Remember that photography has a learning curve; so don’t compare your work to other peoples.
  • DO work at getting better and better with your work
  • Be careful of unkind comments—if you can’t make a positive suggestion to help someone make better images, don’t say anything at all.
  • Use an “I like” and an “I wonder if…..” when making constructive criticism.
  • Remember that your blog can be viewed by your parents and well as your teacher.
  • Remember that if you do not publish your entries, they have been saved as a draft, BUT I CAN NOT SEE THEM. You have to publish!


How Many Points are they usual worth What it stands for Where you will find that information in brobson.edublogs.org
Journal—these are on topics that I expect you to think about and in depth.   Journal Prompts
Assignments—These are reading, writing, researching, and written critique.   Assignments
Shooting Photographs—sometimes at school and mostly outside of school.   Photographic Assignments
Class Critique—This is when the entire class has the chance to see your best work—you get to see theirs as well.

If you have an excused absence on the day of the critique, that score will be dropped, in which case it does not hurt or help your grade.

If you don’t have work (or ditched), the score is a zero. This is the only kind of assignment that cannot be made up.

       Class Critiques
Photoshop and/or Lightroom editing and compositing   Post Processing
These are timed tests that present you with a variety of lighting, exposure, and creativity issues and are designed to assess mastery of photographic skills.    Tests
   50 Points  Specific In School Shoots with a finished image that is graded and critiqued.  These are different from practice shoots that are about learning how to use the camera.  Grading In School Shoot


A Note on Grades: it is very fair to expect every student to improve no matter what the skill level is at the beginning.  I have three basic grades so that you, as the student, are in control of your grade and are only competing against yourself.

  • Full credit–you did the entire assignment and gave it your best effort (or at least a really really solid effort)
  • No credit–you didn’t do the work
  • Please finish for credit/Reshoot–do it all, finish it, fix what you missed, or didn’t master well enough
  • With the exception of class critiques, I accept late work with no penalty of points or grade. It is graded as if it was on time.
  • That means that if you have an awful horrid really big test soon in your most difficult class and need to study for that and miss a written assignment for a couple of days or you are not happy with your shoot and want to try again for a better grade, you can. If you are sick, you can concentrate on getting better and do the makeup work as you are able.
  • However, if you are a procrastinator and postpone everything until the last minute, this will be deadly for your grade. You will run out of time and be unable to get the work done.
  • At the end of each semester, I will post a date and time for all work to be completed. You will know well in advance. I will NOT accept any work from you after that date and time. Tears, begging, and bribery will be to no avail.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email