Visual Arts Process Portfolio: choices (and some points)

I think one point needs making at the start: there is no single route to process portfolio success.1

Examiners are not expecting one ‘style’ or format, or that all Process Portfolios will look the same: it is assumed that you (e.g. different students) will adopt different approaches. However, its important to be aware of the following points:

1 What’s in a ‘screen’?

The main dilemma for some is whether to make the process portfolio a primarily digital construct with screens assembled on a computer, or to simply scan journal pages.

There is also sometimes confusion about the IB’s use of the words ‘screens’ in the visual arts guide.

Screens might consist of photographed or scanned pages from your visual arts journal or other sketchbooks, photographs, digital files that show/explain process development – or a combination of the above.

The process portfolio  “might include slides that have selected extracts from several pages of journals that have been subsequently annotated to make connections between some work done weeks ago, to work done days ago, but it might also include documentation of artworks as evidence of process”

(Here I am quoting friend and OCC Guru J Paterson)

2 Its OK to make (and learn from) mistakes!2

Experiment, explore and make mistakes! Making mistakes is an important part of learning. You should show where you have made decisions about the choices of media etc that are appropriate to your intentions. For example, having tried out your idea in a number of media, you could state which one is most effective and why.

Your process will result in both resolved and unresolved artworks and you should consider your successes and failures as equally valuable learning experiences, worthy of including in your process portfolio.

Not everything that you do will be successful – it is important to acknowledge and remember that.3

3 EXCLUDE resolved work in your exhibition

The final outcome: you must not include work submitted as a part of the exhibition in your process portfolio

4 Spelling, legibility etc

There is no limit to the number of items (words or images) you can include on each screen, but overcrowded or illegible screens will hinder assessment (because examiners might be unable to interpret and understand your intentions). Make sure any text on the screen is easy to read!4

Also check your grammar and spelling: in particular pay attention to the spelling of artists’ names and use “subject-specific language”.

Image resolution: if scanning pages, set the scanner to scan at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch in red, green, blue (RGB) colour mode. This matches the screens of most computers used by examiners to view works and will keep your submission to a manageable size.

Format/layout: consider using a horizontal format for your screens, as this will best fit the screens used to examine the work

No animation! If you compile screens for using a slide “presentation” software (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint®, Apple’s Keynote® or Prezi Pro) avoid using animations within slides and animated transitions between slides.

My students are now looking at their journal pages and other process documentation and considering the options. The process portfolio screens may take a variety of forms, such as sketches, images, digital drawings, photographs, text, or indeed some/all of this.

The images shown are some of the pages from students’ visual arts journals

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