Putting your PP Together

This student has begun their organizing by listing their projects they have completed (or intend to) and which sketchbook pages/screens will best represent each project.  

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.  Then 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)

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.

    • Initial Sketches
    • MindMap
    • Use Visual Art Journal Pages ‘Initial Ideas and Intentions’
    • Medium and Idea Development
    • Use Visual Art Journal Pages ‘Initial Observations/Technical/Media Experiment’ and ‘Idea Development’
    • Analyse and Re-create Artworks
    • Combine Artist Ideas/Styles with your Own
    • Use Visual Art Journal Pages ‘Artist Explorations’
    • Evidence of at least 3 composition ideas for a project
    • Use Visual Art Journal Pages ‘Composition Designs’
    • Reworking composition ideas/Colour Schemes/POD
    • Use Visual Art Journal Pages ‘Composition Designs’
    • Use photos of you AT WORK
    • Include evidence of 2D/3D/4D art forms
    • Include photos of Resolved Work

Initial Intentions/Brainstorming

This screen you discuss early 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)

Some questions to consider:

  • What is your general idea?
  • Define your idea?
  • What does this idea mean to you?
    What is the personal relevance?
  • What is cultural/historical relevance about your idea? (if there is one)
  • What are some first ideas for art pieces that you have?
  • Brainstorm ideas that can connect from your first idea.
  • What initially caught your interest/inspired you?
  • Why?  Give some background into your inspirations
  • What artist(s) has inspired you?
  • Include your first object sketches/photos
  • Add some developmental sketches of first thoughts for your art project.
  • Include a mind map

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. 

NOTE: Added images are properly labeled and discussed in detail in the text.  Also, you will notice that all screens are numbered and titled and subtitled (specific components and project that it relates to)


Experimentation/Idea Development

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*

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 photos of sculpture 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 (sadly) these screens are some of the most popular with IB Examiners (so don’t omit them!)

Artist Connections and Influences

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 own work. Candidates should aim to critically analyse artwork studied, and not include large chunks of biographical information. 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.

For the artists, you should discuss:

  • Historical Significance
  • Cultural Significance
  • Artistic/Stylistic Significance

You need to choose at least one work and analysis it deeply – Feldman’s Analysis is a good tool for analysis

  • Describe
  • Analyse
  • Interpret
  • Evaluate


You need to do a re-creation of the artwork you are analysing.  You can literally try and copy it exactly – or copy sections of it – and/or try another image in the style of the artist.


Discuss how the artist relates to you and how the artist/artwork inspires/influences your artwork.

Some questions to consider:

  • Why are you interested in this artist?
  • Include a (short) bio – Where they are from/live/work, what medium they work in, what their message is/impact on you/the world
  • What is the personal relevance of the artist/artwork to you?
  • What is cultural/historical relevance of the artist/artwork?
  • Include your own re-creation of the artwork
  • Discuss how you are going to use this artist’s ideas/techniques to inspire your art 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.  Unfortunately, I don’t have an examples (yet) of strong artist connection screens – as most discussion of artist influence and connections are combined with other screens.  I would also like to see more clear re-creation of artist work and creation of artist works combined with own ideas (CLICK HERE TO SEE Examples of Artist Recreations and Connections in Visual Art Journal Examples)

Composition Designs

Again – another super important screen.  Do not miss this.

And again – you can’t be a one idea/one artwork kind of artist.  (If you are, read Experimentation/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.

Here are some examples of screens showing Composition Design and Development.  By default many students combine these two elements as they are well connected and flow seamlessly together.  This is also a screen that is (sadly) not popular with students – as they have their ideas, why do they want to focus on developing the idea (that they already have!)  And (sadly) these elements are some of the most popular with IB Examiners (so don’t omit them!)

Process Page

This is 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 Process.   This is 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) 


Refine/ReDo/Failed Attempts

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

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.




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 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.  CLICK HERE FOR INFO ON FORMATTING

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