The PROCESS PORTFOLIO is your documentation of your Art Making.    This should work hand in hand with your Visual Arts Journal.  The focus of your PP is to highlight YOUR process of brainstorming, development, art process and reflective practice.  The PP is worth 40% of your mark and is externally assessed.

Students are to submit carefully selected materials which evidence their experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of visual arts activities during the two year course.

In my class, students work with sketchbooks and digital notes in tandem. I also constantly remind students to take photos of their process as they go. We are a MAC school, so we use keynote… and we love procreate for idea development! So we take photos of our sketches, our WIP and sreen shots of digital work and then insert them to keynote screens then add text. Screens are due at the end of each unit, so students get in the habit of developing screens.

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The Process Portfolio (PP) is up to you to organize as you see fit to show your art process.  Essentially, you need to show evidence of A LOT of QUALITY THOUGHT AND WORK.

Successful portfolios include a great deal of imagery of all parts of the process – from initial ideas/brainstorms, to process shots to final shots. It’s important to include failed ideas and attempts and to articulate reasons why certain media/techniques and ideas were followed or rejected.

It is also important to include more than one image/text per page – this is evidence of 2 years of work so it should be detailed. Handwritten work that is hard to read (due to poor quality photo or poor quality handwriting) is problematic for examiners – if they can’t read it, they can’t assess it.  Also, avoid pages of just text with no imagery (either candidate work or research of other artists).

Grouping work of the same project together in consecutive slides is vital to avoid confusion. It’s helpful if pages and sections are titled and sub-titled. Strong candidates analyse and discuss their art and their research with clear reference to art terms and art specific vocabulary.  

IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ALL SKETCHBOOK OR ALL DIGITAL:  There are some stylistic choices you can make.  If most of your work is done in your Visual Arts Journal, you can take a photo your whole page and type your written words (specifically parts that are hard to read) beside – or use the side to add more detailed information.  Or you can take photos of specific sketches and insert them into a more digital format.

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel or create works specifically for your PP. You are more than likely doing everything you need to be doing in your art class already. Just start documenting – taking photos and thinking things through a little more carefully. When you start a project, experiment, work on a project, reflect, refine you are probably following the design process. Below is the design process we follow in my art room. Sort of. Most days.

And, based on the design project… it all is basically, what IB wants to see in your PP.

Let’s look specifically at the Process Portfolio Rubric…

NOTE: For the 7, the IB is looking for assured and sustained experimentation and manipulation of a range of skills/techniques/processes, in-depth critical investigations, clearly articulated ideas and intentions, effective and consistent process of review and refinement in a clear, coherent and engaging manner with an excellent range of visual evidence and consistent use of subject specific language.


To get started, make a list of all the artworks (failed and successful) you have completed over the 2 years.  Then, go through your Visual Arts Journal and the photos you have collected of you working through your projects and select your best.  Go through the checklist and make sure you have enough of the required components.  (If not, you still have time to update and improve on your work/ideas)

ADDED NOTE: Do make sure that your PP has the required Art Forms represented. You should (rule of thumb) show work in all 3 art forms (2D, 3D, 4D) throughout your PP. This does not have to be in your final works, but within your process. So you might do some drawing sketches, take some photos for inspiration, experiment digitally with ideas and then create a final sculpture. All 3 art forms used. Sorted.

I encourage students to create Process Portfolio screens periodically throughout the first and second year, so many screens may already be complete and you could (should) have a strong idea how you will complete your best screens for submission.

It is important that you discuss and articulate your ideas/thoughts/reflections throughout your Process Portfolio.  Also, ensure that you present strong reasons for your ideas.  The examiner wants to see how your pieces evolved. Strong portfolios show how ideas, materials and techniques evolved and developed – including failed experiments/ideas rejected, changes in composition. Stronger portfolios show how students continue to explore and experiment all the way through in order to resolve problems.  Weaker portfolios often show work when it was half-way through the project with no explanation on the ideas surrounding the piece. Weaker portfolios also tended to be much more teacher directed and prescribed “Our teacher told us to do a bust….”.  This is incredibly limiting to students and does not allow them to develop their own ideas.

The following breakdown will give you a good start at setting up your PP.  However, you will have to organize it according to each project. I suggest you work chronologically with your first project, showing also skill and knowledge growth and development as you move through the screens.


For these screens you discuss ideas.  You can add sketches that you had originally done of your first idea as well as photos you took and/or artist’s works that may have influenced your thoughts.

A good idea is to include the word intention:  For this artwork, my intention is to…….(*intention* is noted in the rubric)

Here are some examples of screens showing Initial Intentions/Ideas.  You will notice that they are all quite varied.  Some adding sections of sketchbook pages, some adding full pages. 


It is important not just to show research into other artists, but also to show connections between the artists studied and the impact on candidate work. There must be a visible connection between artists studied and student’s own work. You should aim to critically analyse artwork studied, and not include large chunks of biographical information.

IB NOTES: Strong candidates had clearly researched artists that were of personal interest to them, not just those suggested by the teacher (ie. avoid the dead white guys!).   Weaker candidates included artists that they like or had seen in a museum visit but did not connect to their own work.

*Remember to label works and add citations directly to artist quotes and at the bottom of the screen*

Here are some examples of screens showing Artist Connections.  You will notice that they are all quite varied.  (CLICK HERE TO SEE Examples of Artist Recreations and Connections in Visual Art Journal Examples)


IDEA DEVELOPMENT is a very important stage – too easily overlooked.  This is where your experimentation of thoughts/materials/medium happens.   This section encompasses a large area – of probably alot of your work.  So these screens will surely be heavily image based – and could very well include multiple photos of pages from your Visual Arts Journal.

For IB, your artworks are expected to be well thought out – not just that you have one idea and make that.  (Usually that is how you are comfortable with working – but usually your first idea is not your strongest.  If you are a one idea type of artist – then you can make these screens backwards – but don’t not include them.  These are the money makers)

It is important to show EXPERIMENTATION or exploration, not simply photos of pieces in process. Candidates should show exploration of a variety of techniques (even if these are not used). This is for all media – digital media should include screen shots of different composition and techniques etc. Strong candidates fill pages with technique experimentations and explore the possibilities deeply. Weaker candidates showed only the development photos of each piece – sometimes one per page.

Your ideas can be sketches – but can also be photos – if you are experimenting with different mediums, or arrangements or colors… so many ways to show experimentation.

This is where you:

  • Narrow down your ideas from your Initial Ideas/Intentions
  • Discuss how your are going to make your idea work.
  • Show experimentation of materials/forms/ideas
  • Combine ideas/colors/thoughts/artist inspirations
  • Discuss successes and challenges of experimentations

*This is where you show your experiments –  I did this – or tried this – I like how this artist does this – what if I combined this idea and this idea. This is leading to your final idea – but not your final composition ideas*

COMPOSITION IDEAS is another super important screen.  Do not miss this. For the 7’s you can’t be a one idea/one artwork kind of artist.  (If you are, read Idea Development)

For IB – the expectation is that you create AT LEAST 3 DIFFERENT composition ideas and then discuss what makes each successful or not so successful.  Use composition strategies like Rule of Third, Rule of Odd, Golden Mean, Formal Balance to organize your ideas into various compositions.

COMPOSITION DEVELOPMENT – once you have chosen your ‘strong’ composition idea, then it is  *HIGHLY ENCOURAGED* that you experiment with color schemes and/or scale(resizing) to create the composition that most strongly delivers your message.

PROCESSES PAGES are where all the photos of your WIP come in handy.  Sadly, IB PP is not equipped for time-lapse videos.

It is best if you can show at least 5-10 photos of your work in different stages of progress – from beginning to end.  With each picture, discuss”

  • what you are doing (precisely)
  • what techniques, methods, materials you are using
  • what is challenging and why
  • what you think is successful and why

This is where you:

  • Take photos of your process – step by step from beginning sketches to final ‘resolved work’.  Include on screen
  • Comment on each step – what you doing, what materials you are using, what is successful, what is challenging.

Here are some examples of screens showing Experimentation and Idea Development.  You will notice that they are all quite varied.  Some adding sections of sketchbook pages, some adding full pages.  Some of the screens show experimentation.  These screens are not terribly not popular with students – as they have their ideas, why do they want to focus on developing the idea (that they already have!)  And these screens are some of the most popular with IB Examiners (so don’t omit them!)

Also, there are some examples of Process screens. These are probably the easiest screen to make.   You need alot of photos of you and your project at different stages of completion.  I encourage my students to show AT LEAST 3 different processes (one in 2D, 3D and 4D) 


FIRST REFINE. It is not enough to just create a reflection of your project – as the rubric calls for review, refine and reflect.  So in order to satisfy this requirement, you should look at your earlier works and see how you can re-think and/or refine some of your ideas to create a stronger work.

You should strive to have at least one screen discussing how you have refined an idea.

This is where you:

  • Discuss what is not successful with the original work/idea/concept
  • What new ideas have you learnt/found out that you think will make the project more successful?
  • Show sketches of refined idea
  • Show process/examples of failed attempt and/or process refinements

THEN REFLECT. Obviously.

Every project needs a reflection.  A good rule of thumb is to use Feldman’s Analysis – but aimed at your project.

  • Describe
  • Analyse
  • Interpret
  • Evaluate

Also include a photo of your finished work.   In art, to sound smart – we call finished works ‘Resolved Work’

Some questions to consider:

  • Describe the final work
  • What was successful in the process and in the final work?
  • What challenges you had during the process and what you did to solve them and/or how they changed your direction?
  • What would you change if you could start again?
  • What did you learn by doing this project?
  • What was your initial intention with this artwork – were you successful – or did it change direction? Why?
  • Include photos of your final ‘resolved’ work.

Here are some examples where students refined and/or re-assessed parts of their projects.  Some admitted their failures and explained why. Others reworked previous works in a different direction.  These screens are usually easier to create in your second year after you have time to reflect and assess your work.  If you have that one project – that doesn’t seem to be working – you can rethink the ideas and/or refine.

Here are some examples of Reflection screens. It is not necessary to use a dedicated screen for only reflection – although, usually reflections have a lot of meat in them and need quite a bit of space to discuss all that worked and didn’t work within the project.  Reflections can just as easily be integrated into other screens – although I do encourage my students to clearly label them reflections (so that rubric section gets a happy check mark)



When you have organized all your screens and have shown a strong representation of the work that you have done during the past two years.  Review your screens.  Go back and read them closely and make sure that you have used correct Art Vocabulary.  Many a good student has lost points due to not using art terms.   Also check your citations and labels.  And be sure to include a List of Sources on the last screen (this doesn’t count into your screen count)