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Part 2: Process Portfolio

Visual Arts Methods

What is the process portfolio (PP)?

The Process Portfolio is your documentation of your art-making journey. It should display your initial research into thematic ideas and direction for artworks; engagement with different media and techniques; documentation of process; reflections on artists & artworks; and the development & refinement of ideas. During your first year in IB Visual Arts, you will work primarily in a physical sketchbook/journal. Starting in the third trimester, you will begin transforming your physical sketchbook/journal into a digital “Process Portfolio”, which adheres and explores IB’s criteria for the Process Portfolio.

The Process Portfolio is 40% of your total grade.  It is externally assessed and internally moderated.  The PP will show your experimentation of various techniques, media and processes which demonstrate sustained development into a body of resolved (and unresolved) work. It contains artist research, self reviews and critiques, and continued documentation from your visual arts journal.

Visual Art Journal

By completion, the Process Portfolio will be a digital document.  However, it all begins with the visual art journal. The art journal is the  student's journey of art‐making, their engagement with different media and techniques, and processes involved in making their own body of works.  You can find a great overview of the in's and out's of the student art journal here.

An example of a well-developed student art journal is

A few useful tips for your visual art journal here.

va journal requirements.jpeg

What is the assessment criteria looking for ?

  SL: 9‐18 pages/screens submitted digitally.

  HL: 13‐25 pages/screens submitted digitally.

The Process Portfolio needs to show sustained experimentation and manipulation of a variety of media and techniques, and an ability to select art-making materials and media appropriate to your own stated intentions.

The Process Portfolio is supported by critical investigations of artists, artworks and artistic genres and evidence of how these have influenced and impacted the students art-making practice.  It will show how initial ideas and intentions have been formed and how connections have been made between skills and interests, chosen media and ideas.  Additionally, there should be continued representation of the refinement of ideas, skills, processes and techniques supported by reflective annotations on the acquisition of these skills and analysis of development as a visual artist.

Examiners will be looking for clarity and coherence in the presentation of submitted screens with correct and consistent use of appropriate subject-specific language.

Be sure to study the assessment criteria.  It is important that you understand how each of its elements fit together to comprise a thorough portfolio.

Criteria A: Skills, techniques and processes

  • Have you shown a range of media (digital, drawing, painting, 3D)?

  • Have you shown both a variety of ideas and then development of these in your experimentation?

  • How have you shown that you are both confident and skilled in using media? Have shown clear development?

  • Have you clearly shown your intentions?

  • Do the ideas/experiments/media chosen show a clear connection to what your stated intentions are?

  • Do you try a variety of different perspectives, compositions and media for each experiment?

  • Is your experimentation consistent - do you explore many possibilities for an idea?

Criteria B: Critical Investigation

  • Have you shown that you have explored an artist to learn from? How have you shown that you really understand the concepts/skills/themes/ideas/media of the artist(s)? How have you shown/can you show this?

  • How do your ideas/imagery/experimentation link to your artist?

  • Have you clearly identified what specific elements of the artists' work you would like to explore?

  • Have you clearly shown that your study of the artist has helped you learn, or helped you decide what you want to create?

  • Do you evaluate your work? Do you state how/why it is successful/unsuccessful?

Criteria C: Communication of ideas and intention (visual and written)

  • Could someone who does not know your work follow your idea clearly?

  • Have you included both visual and written explanation of your ideas (a balance more towards visual, with annotative notes is a good model)

  • Have you clearly stated where your ideas have come from, where you want them to go and why?

  • Have you connected your ideas, skills and experimentation together to clearly show how you have arrived at your final idea? (i.e. how have each of these aspects, and experimentation with them helped you form your idea - guide us through).

  • Have you clearly shown how you have changed or made your idea better (development)?

Criteria D: Reviewing, refining and reflecting (visual and written)

  • How have you clearly and consistently (at each step/on each slide) shown that YOU have revised your ideas, and can guide the reader through how you have decided these things?

  • Have you clearly outlined what skills you have acquired, and what skills and techniques you have developed through the process of experimentation and creation?

  • Have you clearly stated how YOU as an artist have developed (skills, concepts, processes, challenges, artist knowledge, building a body of work - any of these aspects can be an area you have grown in).

  • Are you using evidence on your slide to support what you are saying (making it believable/meaningful).

Criteria E: Presentation and subject-specific language

  • Is your work readable? (No light pencil, no hard to read words/images, no cut off images, no cut off scanned pages, no poor quality scans).

  • Are all your images sourced adequately and appropriately?

  • Have you used consistent subject specific language? This could/should be the general principles/elements of art, but should also be vocabulary that is specific to your chosen form (e.g. 3D sculpture vs digital artworks - different specified terms for these forms show your ability to differentiate language).

  • Have you used ALL of your space efficiently? Do you do this consistently?

  • Have you tried how it will look on a computer screen (to see how it will be for an examiner?).

Below are a few pages from a students PP with commentary. For complete examples continue down.

This is a typical brainstorm page from beginning of Year 1. The student added text to the side explaining and giving more detail to the ideas presented in the sketchbook page.

Remember the only difference between the HL (higher level) and the SL (standard level) is the total number of required slides.

Below are some
student examples of the Process Portfolio. 

PP ex 1          PP ex 3       PP ex 5
PP ex 2          PP ex 4

For an advised PP template, which when used correctly should meet all the criteria, click here.

Students should repeat this cycle for each project done in the class, until they have enough slides to submit to IB.

A few useful tips for the PP..


  • Use each slide efficiently. Large images and thoughtfully spaced type.

  • Cite every source correctly.

  • include experiments, journal pages for homework, ideas and anything you worked on in IB that was NOT included in your EX.

  • Include Art History, Concepts, Process and Reflection wherever possible!

  • Use art vocabulary


  • Don't say what it was "supposed" to be.

  • Don't include the project title the teacher gave the project. Only use the title YOU give the artwork. (for example: Don't write Sense of Place Project).

  • Keep photos CLEAR and GOOD QUALITY! The examiner will not see the original work or text written in your journal! YOU ARE ASSESSED ON WHAT THEY CAN SEE IN THIS PP.

  • Don't be too humble or too arrogant. Stick with the facts.

Citing Sources

PDF File Download

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